The Chinese city of Shanghai on Monday reported seven more deaths due to COVID-19 as it struggles with a surge fuelled by the Omicron variant of coronavirus.
Shanghai on Monday reported 20,629 new COVID-19 infections. The extent of oubreak in Shanghai, the financial hub of China, is highlighted by the fact that the rest of the Chinese mainland only reported 642 new cases.
The seven deaths come a day after the city reported three deaths. The national death toll has now increased to to 4,648.
As the Omicron variant continues to spread, China's health minister Ma Xiaowei on Monday pledged the toughest measures yet to prevent a major outbreak of COVID-19, ruling out any relaxations ahead of this year's 20th Communist Party Congress.
The once-in-five-year Congress of the CPC which is due to be held later this year has assumed significance as Xi, 68, is expected to get its endorsement for a third five-year tenure as the head of the Party, the military, and the presidency.
Vowing to continue the much-criticised Zero COVID policy, Ma in a front-page article published on Monday in party journal Study Times, urged the country to stick to the dynamic zero policy and take a clear-cut stand against erroneous thoughts of coexisting with the virus.
The bottom line is to prevent a large-scale rebound in cases and consolidate the hard-won results of pandemic control to welcome the opening of the CPC Congress, he said.
Last month, the city of Shanghai entered the most rigid lockdown in around two years and carried out testing for a population of around 26 million.
With PTI input