China: Shanghai announced on Monday that three people had died from Covid-19, the first official death toll from the epidemic that has engulfed the megacity for weeks and sparked widespread outrage and rare protests.

A patchwork of restrictions has kept most of the city’s 25 million citizens confined to their homes or complexes since March, with daily caseloads often exceeding 25,000.

The first deaths, all of whom were elderly persons with underlying ailments, were announced by city officials on Monday.

They “deteriorated into serious cases after being admitted to the hospital, and died after all attempts to resuscitate them failed,” according to the city’s official social media account.

Two of the victims were ladies, aged 89 and 91, while the third was a 91-year-old man, according to the statement.
The deaths were confirmed by the city health commission.

According to the city health commission, the eastern economic hub saw 22,248 new domestic cases on Monday.
While the numbers are small in comparison to other global outbreaks, they continue a trend that has seen the city report tens of thousands of daily cases, the most of which are asymptomatic.

As a result, Beijing’s long-standing zero-tolerance approach to the virus has been reinforced, with officials vowing to keep imposing onerous travel restrictions and isolating everyone who tests positive – even if they show no indications of disease.

Residents of Shanghai, one of China’s wealthiest and most cosmopolitan cities, have complained about food shortages, spartan quarantine conditions, and zealous enforcement of the restrictions.

Authorities were chastised on social media for the recorded killing of a pet corgi by a health worker, as well as the now-loosened policy of removing afflicted youngsters from their virus-free parents.

Videos uploaded online last week showed some locals scuffling with hazmat-suited police asking them to relinquish their homes to patients, providing a rare peek into the unhappiness.

Other footage and audio snippets, including some showing individuals busting through barricades seeking food, have suggested growing desperation.

Despite the backlash, China, which first discovered the coronavirus in late 2019, is adhering to its tried-and-true zero-Covid strategy of mass testing, travel restrictions, and targeted lockdowns.

However, the world’s most populous country has recently struggled to suppress outbreaks in a number of locations, owing in large part to the fast-spreading omicron form.

The country’s latest new Covid-19 deaths occurred on March 19, when two people died in the northeastern rust belt province of Jilin, the first in more than a year.


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