China today announced the first new death from covid-19 in nearly half a yearwhile new measures were imposed in Beijing and throughout the country to prevent new outbreaks in the face of new infections in that territory.
The death of an 87-year-old man in Beijing was the first reported by the National Health Commission since May 26, bringing the country’s death toll to 5,227. The previous death was reported in Shanghai, which suffered a strong peak of infections in spring.
In China it was possible register this Sunday 24 thousand 215 new cases in the last 24 hoursthe vast majority asymptomatic.
Though China has a vaccination rate of more than 92 percent with at least one dose, the figure is considerably lower among the elderly, especially those over 80, at just 65 percent. The Commission did not give details on whether the deceased was vaccinated.
That vulnerability is believed to be one reason why China has maintained the restrictions at its borders and sticks to its strict “zero Covid” policywhich aims to eradicate contagion with quarantines, lockdowns, contact tracing and mass testing, despite the impact on daily life and the economy, and growing public discontent with the authorities.
The situations that occur in China after the strict controls
In a partial response, the central city of Zhengzhou said on Sunday that it would no longer require a negative Covid-19 test for children under 3 years of age or other “special groups” seeking medical attention.
The Zhengzhou municipal government’s announcement came after the death of a second child was blamed on over-enforcement of anti-virus measures. The 4-month-old girl died after suffering from vomiting and diarrhea while in quarantine at a Zhengzhou hotel.
According to According to reports, it took her father 11 hours to get medical attention., after health personnel refused to help, and she was eventually sent to a hospital 100 kilometers away. People expressed their outrage online over the “zero Covid” measures and demanded that the authorities in Zhengzhou be punished for failing to help the population.
The case follows an earlier scandal over the death of a three-year-old boy from carbon monoxide poisoning in the Northwest. His father blamed health workers in the city of Lanzhou, who he said had tried to prevent him from taking his son to a hospital.
Other cases that have provoked outrage are that of a pregnant woman who miscarried after being denied access to a hospital in the northwestern city of Xi’am and forced to sit outside in the cold for hours.
Despite the tight control over information, they have reported clashes between authorities and residents fed up with the restrictions. has been ordered a new round of mass testing in Huizhu districtin the southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, where there have been tensions over migrant workers being driven from their residences, the local government said on its official microblog on Sunday.
The Communist Party, which rules the country, promised last week, as it has done after each of those cases, that emergency care would not be denied to people who are quarantined or unable to show a negative result.
Yet the party has repeatedly found itself unable to control harsh, often unauthorized, measures imposed by local officials who fear they will lose their jobs or be prosecuted if outbreaks break out under their jurisdiction.
Nearly three years after the pandemic began, the rest of the world has largely reopened and the impact on the Chinese economy is mounting. Beijing has kept its borders virtually closed and advises against travel even within the country.
In the capital, Beijing, people were instructed not to move between city districts and many restaurants, shops, malls, office buildings, and apartment blocks were closed or isolated. Classes at local and international schools in urban districts in the city of 21 million people moved online.