World

China sees first Covid death in eight months

The hashtag "New virus death in Hebei" quickly hit 100 million views on Weibo after China recorded its first Covid-19 death in eight months yesterday.

"I haven't seen the words 'virusdeath' in so long, it's a bit shocking! I hope the epidemic can pass soon," one user wrote.

China also reported its biggest jump in cases in more than 10 months as infections in Heilongjiang province nearly tripled, underscoring the growing threat ahead of a major holiday when hundreds of millions of people usually travel.

The National Health Commission said that 138 cases were reported on Jan 13, up from 115 cases a day earlier and marking the highest jump since March 5.

This flare-up, concentrated in the north-east, which is now seeing its worst wave yet, coincides with the arrival of the World Health Organisation-led team of experts in Wuhan, where the disease first emerged in late 2019.

The team will spend around a month, including two weeks of quarantine, for their investigation into the origins of the pandemic.

Hebei had 81 of the 124 infections, while Heilongjiang reported 43 cases a day after it declared a state of emergency.

More than 28 million people are in lockdown as both provinces try to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The origin of this new outbreak is unclear.

The infections comes ahead of next month's Chinese New Year holiday.

Covid-19's resurgence has already prompted some provinces to discourage travel. - AFP, REUTERS

WORLD