Shanghai, China reports first COVID-19 deaths since new lockdown began

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April 18 (UPI) — Officials in Shanghai, China, have reported the first deaths in the city since it imposed a major new COVID-19 lockdown last month following a rise in infections.

China has seen a wave of new infections beginning in February that’s been fueled by the Omicron coronavirus variant. Shanghai imposed lockdowns beginning last month in an effort to clamp down on transmissions.

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Officials said on Sunday that three people have died in the city since the lockdown. All three, they said, were of advanced age and were not vaccinated.

The first deaths in Shanghai since the lockdown has renewed concerns over the low rate of vaccinations among the elderly, officials said on Monday.

Officials said the deaths — a 91-year-old man and women who were 89 and 91 — were all tied to underlying health conditions.

The Shanghai Health Commission said that all three people died in a hospital despite full efforts to resuscitate them.

The deaths come three weeks after officials ordered a strict lockdown in the city after the Omicron variant of COVID-19 had been detected there. Millions are confined to their homes and widespread quarantines are in effect in health centers for those who test positive.

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Shanghai has reported about 20,000 new cases per day recently as officials struggle to find hospital and quarantine space.

The impact the virus is having in Shanghai is critical to the Chinese economy. The city, which is home to about 24 million people, has a population three times the size of New York City and is greater than the entire state of Florida. The city also is home of world’s busiest seaport and third-busiest cargo airport.