China records first COVID-19 deaths in over a year
China reported its first coronavirus deaths in over a year on Saturday as the country combats a major uptick in cases.
Two deaths were reported in the province of Jilin, which prohibited its population from traveling out of the area due to a surge in cases, The New York Times reported.
China, which reported 3,844 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, reinstated safety measures last week to curb the spread of the virus.
The country urged residents not to leave Beijing and shut down schools in Shanghai. Most of the new cases have been located in Jilin, according to the Times.
Two of mainland China’s biggest cities, Shenzhen and Shanghai, also imposed new restrictions earlier this week as a result of the surge in cases.
China adheres to a “zero tolerance” policy, identifying and isolating every case of COVID-19 and conducting mass testing in cities and towns. The strategy has reportedly prevented higher death rates seen in other countries.
The last COVID-19 death recorded in China was in January 2021, though some experts suspect that deaths since that time may have gone unreported by officials, according to the paper.
More than 25,000 cases have been reported by China in the last few weeks, the majority of which stem from the highly contagious BA.2 subvariant of the omicron strain.