With Covid cases on the rise, China has started reintroducing curbs. The nation recorded around 24,215 fresh infections, over the last 24 hours, the vast majority of them asymptomatic.
Most of the infections are taking place due to the spread of the Omicron sub-variants. While China has an overall vaccination rate of more than 92% having received at least one dose, that number is considerably lower among the elderly, particularly those over age 80, where it falls to just 65%.
CHINA ANNOUNCES FIRST DEATH IN 6 MONTHS
China on Sunday announced its first new death from Covid-19 in nearly half a year as strict new measures are imposed in Beijing and across the country against new outbreaks.
The death of the 87-year-old Beijing man was the first reported by the National Health Commission since May 26, bringing the total death toll to 5,227. The commission, however, did not give details on the vaccination status of the deceased.
LOCKDOWN IN BAIYUN DISTRICT
Local authorities in the Baiyun district of the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou locked down the area for five days from Nov. 21 to Nov. 25 as Covid-19 cases continue to mount. “The risk of social transmission of the epidemic in Baiyun District has continued to increase, and the prevention and control situation is grim,” health authorities said on their official WeChat account.
Beijing’s most populous district urged residents to stay at home on Monday, extending a request from the weekend as the city’s Covid-19 cases rose, with many businesses shut and schools in the area shifting classes online.
Nationally, new case numbers held steady on Sunday near April peaks as China battles outbreaks in cities across the country, from Zhengzhou in central Henan province to Guangzhou in the south and Chongqing in the southwest.
CHINESE CAPITAL REPORTS 621 NEW INFECTIONS
The Chinese capital reported 621 new infections on Saturday, up from 515 a day earlier. As of 3 p.m. on Sunday, it added a further 516 new infections.
“The number of cases discovered outside quarantine is increasing rapidly at present, and there are hidden transmission risks from multiple places,” Liu Xiaofeng, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, told a media briefing. “The pressure on Beijing has further increased,” he said.
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7 BEIJING DISTRICTS CONTINUE ONLINE CLASSES
Officials said that the Panyu district will resume in-person school for primary and middle school students on Monday, while online teaching continues in seven of the city’s 11 districts. Under a series of measures unveiled this month, Chinese health authorities have sought more targeted Covid-19 curbs, sparking investor hopes of a more significant easing even as China faces its first winter battling the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Many analysts expect such a shift to begin only in March or April, however, with the government arguing that President Xi Jinping’s signature zero-COVID policy saves lives. Experts warn that full reopening requires a massive vaccination booster effort and a change in messaging in a country where the disease remains widely feared.