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Covid-19: China reports first death in eight months

AFP/Beijing
Filed on January 14, 2021
Passengers wearing protective equipment weight at a train station in Beijing. — Reuters

It occurred in Hebei province where the government has placed several cities under lockdown

China reported a death from Covid-19 on Thursday — its first in eight months — as the country battles to contain a resurgence in cases and prepares for the arrival of an expert team from the WHO.

No details were given about the latest death by the National Health Commission, except that it occurred in Hebei province where the government has placed several cities under lockdown. The last reported death in mainland China was in May 2020.

China had largely brought the virus outbreak under control through a series of strict lockdowns and mass testing. But another 138 infections were reported by the National Health Commission on Thursday — the highest single-day tally since March last year.

Authorities last week launched a mass testing drive and closed transport links, schools and shops in Hebei’s capital city Shijiazhuang — the epicentre of the latest outbreak.

Neighbouring Xingtai, home to seven million people, has also been locked down since last Friday, as have the five million people of Langfang city.

In a sign of infections spreading, northeastern Heilongjiang declared an “emergency state” on Wednesday, telling its 37.5 million residents not to leave the province unless absolutely necessary and saying public gatherings would be cancelled.

No deaths have been reported in mainland China since May last year, and the official death toll now stands at 4,635.





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