The deaths were reported Saturday, in the northeastern Jilin province, amid an omicron-related surge in COVID cases. Now, China’s COVID death toll sits at 4,638.
Jilin has issued a travel ban as China reported 2,157 total new COVID cases on Saturday. And as NBC shares, China is still pushing its “zero-Covid” strategy—focusing on lockdowns and mass testing, with residents unable to leave their homes unless new cases are found either in quarantine or via contact tracing. Still, China’s president Xi Jinping said last week that the country should aim for “maximum effect” with “minimum cost” when it comes to cracking down on the virus.
Hong Kong is facing a larger outbreak with more deaths, but its numbers are being reported separate from Mainland China given that it is a special administrative region.
In other China news, U.S. President Joe Biden reportedly warned Jinping of consequences he’d face if the country were to aid Russia during its invasion of Ukraine. U.S. officials called the conversation, which happened before the weekend, “direct, it was substantive and it was detailed.”
“The president really wasn’t making specific requests of China,” a senior official said. “He was laying out the assessment of the situation, what he thinks makes sense, and the implications of certain actions. You know, I think our view is that China will make its own decisions.”