An 87-year-old man was the latest victim of the Covid-19 pandemic in Beijing, authorities say, as the country sees an uptick in cases after months of few infections being reported.

Cases have been on the rise in the country even though it's been implementing a tough zero-Covid policy.
Cases have been on the rise in the country even though it's been implementing a tough zero-Covid policy. (Noel Celis / AFP)

China has reported its first fatality from Covid-19 in six months with the death of a 87-year old man in Beijing. 

Municipal officials announced on Sunday the man had died in the capital. They also said 621 new local cases had been detected in Beijing.

The National Health Commission also said it had recorded more than 24,000 local infections across the nation in the previous 24 hours.

While the tallies are low compared with most other countries, the latest announcements follow a recent uptick in cases in China after months of few infections being reported.

The announcements also come after Beijing declared its most significant easing of coronavirus measures to date on November 11.

Among the steps to ease the controls was a reduction of compulsory quarantine times for international arrivals.

Days later, multiple Chinese cities cancelled mass Covid-19 tests, raising hopes of an eventual reopening.

But the limited relaxation has not marked a reversal of zero-Covid, which has left China internationally isolated, wreaked havoc on the economy, and sparked protests.

READ MORE: China’s Shanghai to carry out two new rounds of mass Covid testing

'Grim' situation

More than 8,000 new daily cases were reported in the southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou on Sunday, prompting officials to launch a general Covid screening in the central district of Haizhu that is home to about 1.8 million people.

Guangzhou was the scene of protests and clashes with police last week over a renewed lockdown.

Meanwhile, Beijing has in recent days moved to confine some residents to their homes and ordered others to quarantine centres.

Beijing officials also repeated their call to residents to avoid "non-imperative" travel between districts to avoid spreading the virus.

Some of Beijing's largest shopping malls were closed on Sunday, while others reduced opening hours or banned table service at restaurants.

Several offices in the business and diplomatic hub of Chaoyang District asked companies to tell their employees to work from home. Some parks and gyms have also closed.

The number of cases "is seeing a significant rise", Beijing municipality spokesman Xu Hejian said on Sunday. "The situation of epidemic prevention and control in the capital is grim."

READ MORE: Beijing closes public parks as China reports over 10,000 new Covid cases

Source: TRTWorld and agencies