Chinese health authorities confirmed two more COVID-19 deaths on Monday, both in Beijing’s capital.
These deaths are the first to be reported in some weeks as the country expects a rise in diseases following the relaxation of its rigorous “zero-COVID” policy.
Even though numerous unofficial reports of a recent surge of cases exist, China has not reported death from COVID-19 since December 4.
With the most recent deaths, the National Health Commission increased China’s total COVID-19 deaths in the past three years to 5,237 out of 380,453 illness cases.
These figures are significantly lower than those of other major nations, but they are also based on statistics and information-gathering techniques that have been called into question.
Chinese health officials only include persons who died directly from COVID-19; they do not include people whose underlying illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, were made worse by the virus.
According to regulations in many other nations, death, when the coronavirus is a cause or contributor must be classified as a COVID-19-related death.
The declaration follows testimony from family members and funeral industry workers who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation that the number of deaths linked to COVID-19 was rising.
In contrast to the U.S., where the death toll has surpassed 1.1 million, China has long praised its strict “zero-COVID” policy for keeping the number of cases and fatalities comparatively low.
However, the policy of lockdowns, travel bans, required testing, and quarantines severely stressed China’s society and its economy, seemingly persuading the Communist Party in power to listen to outside counsel and change its course.
The loosening started in November and picked up speed when demonstrations against the restrictions in Beijing and several other cities turned into calls for the resignation of President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party, marking the highest level of public discontent in decades.