China’s health officials reported two COVID-19-related deaths on Saturday. This is the first COVID-19 death since January 2021. The country is currently fighting its worst outbreak in 2 years, triggered by an increase in the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Both deaths occurred in northeastern China’s Jilin Province. This brings the country’s total coronavirus-related deaths to 4,638.

Jiao Yahui, a National Health Commission official, said that both deaths occurred in elderly patients due to their underlying conditions. She said that one of the victims had not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Jilin was responsible for three-fourths the 2,157 new community transmissions that were reported on Saturday. People must obtain permission from the police before they can travel across border borders.

China has reported over 29,000 cases nationwide since March 1st, even if there are no symptoms.

China has been exploring ways to reduce its pandemic response. However, it has continued with its tried and true policy of lockdowns as well as mass testing of millions of people in a part of its successful, but burdensome, “zero COVID” strategy since the outbreak in Wuhan in 2019.

Because clusters of the virus are being tamped down quickly, there have been relatively few cases in this country. This strategy has been popularly supported and has prevented large numbers of deaths in other countries. Many of these countries have stopped any social distancing.

Officials have pledged to intensify their zero-tolerance strategy in China to stop multiple outbreaks. Xi Jinping, China’s leader, acknowledged the severity of the situation on Thursday and said that China should aim for “maximum effect” at a “minimal cost” to contain the virus.

Hong Kong saw 16583 new cases on Saturday, as it is currently facing the worst pandemic surge. On Friday, the city had more coronavirus cases than mainland China and has seen more deaths.

COVID-19 data for Mainland China is separately counted from Hong Kong, a special administrative area.