The Perfect Enemy | China’s reports first Covid-19 death since May as outbreak spirals
December 6, 2022
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This was the first documented Covid-19 fatality in the country since Shanghai authorities reported one on May 26, amid a spring outbreak that sparked months of painful lockdown.

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Thousands stuck inside Shanghai Disney Resort after snap Covid lockdown

Beijing reported 621 cases on Sunday, with residents urged to stay indoors during the weekend to cut off transmission chains.

Nationwide, the case tally reached 24,215 on Sunday, marginally down from the previous day’s 24,263.

The southern mega city of Guangzhou remained the hardest-hit, accounting for one third of the caseload.

This comes days after China relaxed several of its draconian zero-Covid restrictions, aiming to reduce the economic and social impact and make the control measures more targeted and scientific.

But the surge in cases has sparked some panic, with people worried about the risks of exposure for the elderly as controls are eased.

Jin Dongyan, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong, said authorities should boost vaccination rates – especially booster shots for the elderly and vulnerable population- and also promote public information on the current state of the coronavirus to prevent undue panic.

“If several million elderly people above 80 years of age have not been vaccinated, it will pose a potential risk,” he warned.

“The most important point is public education. You should give the correct information to the public. Many people’s understanding of Covid still remains at the level of the initial [2020] outbreak in Wuhan. Therefore, this is what needs to be explained better.”

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Covid lockdowns spark rare protest in southern Chinese city of Guangzhou

Jin also said the adjustment of zero-Covid restrictions by central authorities in recent days indicates a path towards sustainable control, and readiness to counter future pandemics.

Low elderly vaccination rates remain a hurdle as China tries to emerge from the pandemic, with nearly 36 million people aged 80 or over in 2020.

As of mid-August, the booster shot rate among China’s elderly was just around 68 per cent, compared with more than 90 per cent for Japan, which also has a sizeable aged population.