People line up amid snowfall at a mobile nucleic acid testing site, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Beijing, China March 18, 2022.
Mainland China reported its first COVID deaths in over a year on Saturday, said a post on the National Health Commission's website.
The two deaths happened in China's northeastern region of Jilin that borders North Korea and Russia, where case numbers make up over two thirds of total domestic infections.
China reported two deaths for the whole of 2021, with the last one logged on Jan. 25.
The country reported 2,228 new confirmed coronavirus cases on March 18, compared with 2,416 a day earlier.
Of the new cases, 2,157 were locally transmitted, compared with 2,388 a day earlier, with 78% appearing in Jilin and others found in the southeastern province of Fujian and the southern province of Guangdong among others.
The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, stood at 1,823 compared with 1,904 a day earlier.
The death toll went up to 4,638.
As of March 18, mainland China had confirmed 128,462 cases.
Source: Reuters / Reporting by Zoey Zhang and Engen Tham in Shanghai; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Raju Gopalakrishnan
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