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China reported its first COVID-related death in more than a year on Saturday, as infections caused by the Omicron subvariant continued to mount.
Two elderly patients who lived in the northeastern Jilin province died because of underlying conditions, Jiao Yahui of the National Health Commission told a news briefing, according to the Associated Press. One of the patients had not been vaccinated.
China has now recorded a total of 10,037 COVID-related deaths, according to John Hopkins University COVID-19 tracker, far below the number of deaths in less populated nations. The United States has more than 97,000 COVID-related deaths, the most of any nation.
China managed to tamp down cases after the virus was first detected in Wuhan in late 2019, but the Omicron subvariant has caused a recent wave of infections. China reported more than 29,000 confirmed cases since the beginning of March, the Associated Press said.
On Saturday, health authorities reported 2,157 new community transmissions, mostly in Jilin, the Associated Press said. The provincial government imposed a travel ban in an attempt to limit the spread of cases and began mass testing in the provincial capital of Changchun.
The World Health Organization says China recorded 818,612 confirmed COVID cases from Jan. 3, 2020, to March 18, 2022.
Even as case counts rise in China, national leaders have indicated a desire to move away from the stringent measures such as lockdowns and mass testing required by the country’s zero-tolerance policy. Other nations around the world are relaxing restrictions.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said Thursday that China should seek “maximum effect” with “minimum cost” in managing the virus, the Associated Press said, citing the state-controlled Xinhua news agency.
The Associated Press. “China reports first COVID-19 deaths in more than a year”
World Health Organization
Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Tracker
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