The city government of Shanghai reported the first Covid deaths since the start of its weeks-long lockdown, three elderly people with underlying conditions, on Monday.
“The three people deteriorated into severe cases after going into hospital, and died after all efforts to revive them proved ineffective,” the city said on social media.
According to the city, the deceased included two women aged 89 and 91, as well as a 91-year-old man, and they all had underlying health issues such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Shanghai, China’s largest city, has been subjected to a patchwork of lockdown restrictions this year due to the country’s worst Covid-19 outbreak since the pandemic’s inception.
According to the municipal health commission, the eastern business hub had 22,248 new domestic cases on Monday, of which 2,417 were symptomatic.
Because of a zero-Covid policy of mass testing, travel restrictions, and targeted lockdowns, China, where the coronavirus was first detected in late 2019, has largely slowed the number of new cases to a trickle.
However, the world’s most populous country has recently struggled to contain outbreaks in multiple regions, which have been largely driven by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.
The country last reported new Covid deaths on March 19, when two people died in the northeastern province of Jilin, the first in more than a year.
Shanghai’s Health Commission said in a statement announcing the deaths that the three people died in hospital on Sunday despite “full efforts to resuscitate them” It was also stated that all three people had underlying medical conditions.
The city has been under strict lockdown since the discovery of an Omicron-led outbreak three weeks ago, which has enraged residents. Millions of people have been quarantined in their homes, and anyone who tests positive has been sent to quarantine centres. Many people have taken to social media in recent weeks to express their displeasure with the restrictions and lack of food supplies.
People have had to order food and water and wait for government deliveries of vegetables, meat, and eggs, and many are running low on supplies, according to analysts.
Delivery services, grocery store websites, and even the distribution of government supplies have all been impacted by the lockdown extension.
Authorities, however, are struggling to keep up with the daily influx of more than 20,000 new cases. In recent weeks, the city has transformed exhibition halls and schools into quarantine centers, as well as erected makeshift hospitals.
Although the recent increase in cases in China is minor in comparison to other countries, it poses a significant challenge to China’s “zero-Covid” strategy, which employs rapid lockdowns and aggressive restrictions to contain any outbreak.