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China’s Shanghai reports three COVID-19 deaths, first since lockdown

China began its largest lockdown in two years last month in Shanghai after surge in new infections. (File Photo)

China has reported the deaths of three people from COVID-19 in Shanghai first time since the bustling commercial center was placed under lockdown last month.

A statement from the city health commission on Monday confirmed the death of three elderly people, aged between 89 and 91, all of them with underlying health conditions and unvaccinated.

It also reported 22,248 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.

The health condition of the victims had "deteriorated into severe cases after going to the hospital"; a health official in Shanghai was quoted as saying.

The new COVID-19 deaths in Shanghai are the first the country has reported since March 2020, after the first wave of the pandemic in the country, where the virus was first detected in late 2019.

Last month, more than 26 million people were placed under a partial two-stage lockdown in Shanghai in a bid to contain the fresh COVID-19 outbreak.

Sticking to its zero-tolerance approach, Chinese government officials asked people in Shanghai to stay home as they carried out mass testing for city inhabitants.

The new outbreak in China’s biggest city and a global financial hub, which had managed its past outbreaks with limited lockdowns, has been fueled by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The city is now poised to enter another round of mass testing, which means a strict lockdown will continue into a fourth week for most residents.

After China began its largest lockdown in two years last month in Shanghai, it led to reports of food shortage and clashes between people and medics over heavy-handed enforcement of protocols.

The government then deployed thousands of military officers, medics, and other healthcare workers to help boost the massive campaign by carrying out COVID-19 tests and vaccines for residents in what was China's largest public health campaign.

The megacity's health commissioner on Sunday noted that 62 percent of residents aged over 60 had been inoculated twice and 38 percent in the demographic have had three vaccines.

The authorities have announced that anyone who tests positive, regardless of whether they show signs of the disease, will be sent to quarantine until their full recovery.

Asymptomatic infections have driven the new surge, with nearly 90 percent of more than 22,000 new cases on Monday showing no signs of illness, according to city health officials.

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