China announced two more COVID-19 deaths on Sunday as some localities slowly relaxed anti-pandemic measures in response to louder and louder public resentment.
According to the National Health Commission, Sichuan and Shandong provinces recorded one death.
There was no information provided regarding the victims’ ages or vaccination status.
China, the final major nation attempting to entirely stop transmission through quarantines, lockdowns, and mass testing, is where the virus was initially discovered in late 2019 in the central city of Wuhan.
The Communist Party in power is reportedly determined to keep its hard-line stance due to concerns about immunization rates.
According to the commission, while 90% of Chinese have had vaccinations, just 66% of those over 80 have received one shot, and 40% have received a booster. It said that 86% of those over 60 are immunized.
Some worry that if limitations were completely eased, millions of people could die due to these statistics and the fact that only a tiny percentage of Chinese have developed antibodies after being exposed to the virus.
Even though they claim the “zero-COVID” plan, which aims to isolate every infected individual, is still in effect, officials appear to have been moved to ease some of the more onerous limitations in response to a public outcry of anger.
The most significant and widespread protests in decades broke out on November 25 in response to a fire in an apartment building in the city of Urumqi in China’s northwest, leaving at least 10 people dead.
That sparked irate online comments about whether locked doors or other anti-virus measures prevented firefighters or victims from fleeing. Authorities refuted that, but the deaths represented the public’s ire.
A relaxing of COVID-19 limits was demanded throughout the country’s many days of protests in places like Shanghai and Beijing.
Some called for the resignation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, an astonishing display of popular discontent in a culture where the ruling Communist Party wields almost complete control.
For the first time in months, passengers in Beijing and a few other Chinese cities can board buses and subways without taking a virus test. Some Beijing residents have complained about the need because they feel that most public places should not still require COVID-19 examinations, despite the city closing numerous testing locations.
China reported 35,775 cases from the previous day on Sunday, 31,607 of which were asymptomatic, bringing the country’s total to 336,165 cases with 5,235 fatalities.
Although many have questioned the accuracy of the Chinese figures, they still represent a low number compared to the United States and other countries, which are now loosening restrictions and attempting to live with the virus, which has sickened nearly 650 million people and killed at least 6.6 million.
Even though the number of infections in China is tiny compared to its population of 1.4 billion, the country requires foreign visitors to stay in quarantine.