BEIJING — Shanghai city reported Monday its first Covid-related deaths since the latest wave of lockdowns began in earnest in late March.
Three people have died as of Sunday, the city said, attributing the deaths to preexisting health conditions. The official announcement noted all three people were elderly and were not vaccinated against Covid-19.
Beijing is trying to increase Covid vaccination rates among the country’s older population. As at April 11, about 224.8 million people over the age of 60 had been vaccinated, according to the National Health Commission.
That’s about 85% of the age category, based on a 2020 census that said the country has more than 260 million people over the age of 60. As at April 11, roughly 90.8% of the country’s 1.41 billion people had been vaccinated, according to the health commission.
Anecdotally, at least one neighborhood in the capital city of Beijing said anyone over the age of 60 getting the first Covid shot could receive a reward worth the equivalent of about $70 to $80.
The latest Covid wave in China — the worst since the initial shock of the pandemic in early 2020 — began in late February and stems from the highly transmissible omicron variant. The only other deaths officially reported in the latest wave were two in the northern province of Jilin on March 18.
For Sunday, Shanghai reported 2,417 new confirmed Covid cases with symptoms and 19,831 without.
Shanghai, China’s largest city, began a two-stage lockdown and mass virus testing in late March that was supposed to end after just over a week. But municipal authorities have yet to set a date for when widespread travel restrictions and stay-home orders will end.
On Monday, the city said it would begin another round of mass virus testing, set to end Thursday.
Outside of Shanghai, mainland China reported about 300 other new confirmed cases with symptoms for Sunday, in regions ranging from Jilin to the southern province of Guangdong. Beijing reported three such cases.