China announces first Covid-19 death since May
An 87-year-old man from Beijing has died of Covid-19, China’s National Health Commission stated on Sunday. This is the first death from the virus in the country in nearly half a year amid its strict lockdowns, as the most recent one before it was reported in Shanghai in May.
On November 20, China announced 24,215 new Covid-19 cases had been detected in the previous 24 hours, most asymptomatic. There have been 286,197 recorded cases since the virus was first recognized in Wuhan in December 2019, but only 5,227 deaths reported.
Some in the West have questioned China’s record-keeping, noting that the recent outbreak in Shanghai – which lasted for two months and infected hundreds of thousands of people – officially caused only about two dozen deaths. Patients who died with serious health conditions like diabetes and heart disease but tested positive for Covid-19 before death were not counted as Covid-19 deaths, unlike in the US and Europe.
However, the practice of counting every death testing positive for the virus as a Covid-19 case is itself controversial, with some experts arguing it amounts to little more than exaggeration or fearmongering.
China’s ‘zero-Covid’ policy has placed severe restrictions on movement within the country, imposing lockdowns, quarantines, contact tracing, and mass testing to an extent not seen during the early days of the pandemic.
Residents of Beijing have been discouraged from traveling between city districts, while many businesses have been closed and remote schooling continued for children.