China’s National Health Commission on Saturday, reported two Covid deaths, the first fatalities due to the disease in the country since January 2021, reported the Associated Press.

The country on Saturday reported 2,157 new Covid cases, majorly in the Northeastern Jilin province, where the two deaths occurred as well, as per the report.

China is experiencing its worst coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic first began in late 2019. The surge in cases is driven by the Omicron variant of Covid-19, which was first detected last November.

In line with China’s “zero tolerance” approach, the government has imposed a strict lockdown, mass testing, and a travel ban in the Jilin province. Locals would need permission from the police to cross borders, according to the Associated Press.

President Xi Jinping had on Thursday expressed the need to swiftly contain the spread of the Covid-19 wave, reported state media Xinhua.

“More effective measures should be taken to achieve maximum effect in prevention and control with minimum cost, and to reduce the epidemic’s impact on socio-economic development as much as possible,” he said.

Since the first coronavirus case reported in Wuhan city, China has so far reported 4,636 deaths due to the virus. There are currently 18,586 active cases in the country according to Worldometer.