The city of Shanghai, confined since the end of March for an indefinite period and in sometimes Spartan conditions, announced on Tuesday April 19 seven new deaths from Covid-19 in the past twenty-four hours, bringing to ten the total of deaths in the Chinese economic capital.
The town hall had reported its first three deaths on Monday, a surprisingly light toll in a metropolis which has 25 million inhabitants and which counts some 20,000 new cases of contamination every day, mainly due to the Omicron variant. The seven people were between the ages of 60 and 101 and suffered from pre-existing conditions, according to the town hall. None were vaccinated.
All are “fallen seriously ill after being admitted to hospital”Health authorities said on Tuesday.
A low mortality that challenges
Since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, initially detected in central China at the end of 2019, Beijing has managed to limit the total death toll to less than 5,000 deaths, and less than 190,000 contaminations, if we stick to the official figures, which are much lower than the international counts.
This low mortality is a concern, especially since vaccination rates are low among the oldest Chinese. City health officials said Sunday that less than two-thirds of those over 60 had received two injections, and less than 40% a booster dose.
According to unverifiable messages circulating on social networks, deaths have already been attributed to Covid-19 in recent weeks in Shanghai, but this information has been censored by the authorities.
Shanghai, where many multinationals are located, has the largest port in China and the confinement of the most populous city in the country is heavily penalizing activity.
Contrary to many countries that opt for cohabitation with the virus and lift restrictions, China continues to follow a zero Covid policy. Analysts at Nomura Bank estimate that around 350 million people in China are currently undergoing some form of lockdown, to varying degrees. The areas concerned, around forty cities, represent 40% of the country’s GDP, according to their calculations.
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