China reports first COVID-19 deaths in more than a year

  • A worker takes a swab sample for a COVID-19 test at a mobile testing site on Tuesday in Beijing. China’s national health authorities reported two COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, the first recorded rise in the death toll since January 2021, as the country battles an omicron-driven surge. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

  • A man arrives to receive a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at a community vaccination center at the Kowloon Mosque And Islamic Centre in Hong Kong, Saturday, March 19, 2022. Hong Kong's cumulative coronavirus infections have exceeded 1 million as the city grapples with a widespread outbreak that has killed more people than the reported COVID-19 deaths in all of mainland China. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

BEIJING — China’s health authorities reported two COVID-19 deaths on Saturday, the first since January 2021, as the country battles its worst outbreak in two years driven by a surge in the highly transmissible omicron variant.