Around the world people am getting used to post-lockdown life with vaccines do the heavy lifting against Covid-19 as restrictions are relaxed. In China, however, a hard elimination policy remains where the pandemic first began.
A person walks a five-star hotel to ask briefly? for directions and ends up in two weeks in quarantine because a guest has had some coronavirus contact. A crew member on a high-speed train has close contact with an infected person, and a trainload of become passengers in quarantine sent for mass testing. In Shanghai Disneyland, 33,863 visitors suddenly have to undergo mass tests because a visitor was infected the day before.
Welcome in life in the country that feels now like a perpetual, back-until-zero-Covid world.
China was the first country to impose restrictions on combat this pandemic and it will be one of the last to illuminate them.
If you met just speak chinese people in the street, you’ll find that many don’t seem to mind the ongoing strict antivirus measures, as long as they’re kept safe.
I asked one woman of China should open faster and she said it would be? best waiting for the pandemic to be solved out just because safety is number one.
Another woman on the way home by work told me that the virus is not fully understood, that vaccines would improve and so, for because of of social stability, it would be best to hold off opening up.
Not so long ago, other countries like Australia, New Zealand and Singapore were also every outbreak is approaching of the coronavirus as something that had to be completely stamped out in the community, which locked cities until the virus stopped spreading.
The goal was to reach zero local broadcasts.
The two things die changed this approach were the emergence of the lot tougher to control the Delta variant of the disease and, more crucially, achieving high vaccination levels.
High vaccination coverage meant people may still contract Covid-19, but not have to go to the hospital.
Like a result, borders elsewhere are opening up international trip. In China, however, visa for foreigners remain hard drop by and chinese? people their passports are still not renewed after they expire.
Elsewhere, people are alive with the virus”. in China, where another Delta outbreak is attacked with the same zeal as before the vaccine.
As the official numbers are correct, over Since October, 1,000 local broadcasts have been recorded. The figure is not that high, but the spread is significant, affecting 21 provinces. This is important, want even a few of cases in China will trigger the same strict measures as hundreds of thousands of new infections.
‘No contamination is acceptable’
Authorities have shown no inclination to change this approach, although some Chinese scientists are pushing for a reconsideration.
Professor Guan Yi, a virologist from Hong Kong University and advisor to the government, called for An switch of massive nucleic acid testing (die finding infections) to massive antibody tests (die possible help scientists understand effectiveness of vaccines).
In an interview with Phoenix TV he said that in the long run, there is no chance that a zero-Covid strategy could work in terms of to achieve complete elimination.
“The virus is now permanent,” he said. “It’s like the flu, die will circulate” in people for a long time”.
This concept comes as no surprise people in other countries. In China, however, government has drilled population mobilize to get back until zero cases with each new golf of the virus. Changing this message is hard.
requested how a lot of protection China’s vaccines can provide against mutated strains of the coronavirus, Prof Guan said this is something the vaccine makers should answer.
He is not alone among academics who interrogate now die from Beijing direction.
dr. Haung Yanzhong, from the in New York based council on Foreign Affairs, says An key problem is that vaccines cannot achieve what the Chinese government would like them, making Beijing wary.
“They are not sure of the effectiveness of the vaccines – the ability to prevent infections,” he told the BBC, “want actually even the… best vaccines cannot prevent infections, but the zero-tolerance strategy says we can’t even accept one single infection.”
dr. Haung added the Chinese government has found yourself in a political and ideological bond in trumpeting his successes to his people.
“The zero-tolerance strategy is also part of the official narrative, to the . to claim success of the Chinese pandemic response model, the superiority of the Chinese political system. So if you give up Which strategy, and then you saw the cases increase significantly, you know that would lead people ask the question model.”
‘A million reasons’
Add to the mix die Beijing has? big events coming up and there is great desire among officials to detain them in An environment free of any Covid outbreak.
Most directly there are the Winter Olympics in February. Tickets are not gone on sell the goal is to have spectators in the stands.
Coming October is the Communist Party’s five-year congress, when Xi Jinping is expected to begin a historic third term in office.
Of course there will always be something on the horizon.
Another rather bleak interpretation is that General Secretary Xi Jinping and his government like the idea of reduce foreign influence in China, and the pandemic is an excellent excuse to move in this direction.
on social media, have denounced some messages from nationalists international influence on “Chinese” way of to do things.
The emphasis of governance has definitely shifted here from a “reform and opening” up”philosophy to one that places the Communist Party in the centre of everything and its leader Xi Jinping in the core.
Given that other countries have opened their borders, the BBC asked Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin when his country would do the same.
He replied that China to the experience of other countries and would follow science to make it decisions in light of new variants die came up.
Or way, experts die standing close to them in power here signaling no imminent end zero- Covid. In fact, it’s the exact opposite.
‘Too high’ a cost
dr. Zhong Nanshan is seen as something of a medical hero in China. The specialist in respiratory medicine shot to global fame in 2003 for challenging the then-government’s line that the Sars outbreak was not that serious.
Nowadays, people – including officials – listen to what he has to say.
In a recent interview, he said that China’s strict measures to improve Covid remain for “fairly long”.
He added that a global Covid-19 death rate of 2% was too high for China to even accept with vaccines in place. The cost of opening too fast was not worth it, he said, adding that China would look at the… experience of other countries under their “residentialwith-Covid” plans.
It is also important to remember that Chinese officials can be decent conservative in their approach. It is possible that they intend to “reopen” the country again and are just in new great hurry to do this.
For many of the ones die want to enter China of wanting to leave it, have no choice but to wait.
While middle and upper class people maybe complain over the lack of freedom to move over international, many ordinary Chinese burgers appear content until allow the government to control the situation if it keeps them healthy.
Meanwhile, massive testing, centralized quarantine, transportation controls, high-level surveillance, the provision of track and trace and strict, localized lockdowns will remain An big part of life in China.
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