Seven weeks of China struggling ‘no Covid’

Avatar of Nick John By Nick John Dec11,2023 #China #Covid #Seven
Seven weeks of China struggling 'no Covid' 3
Seven weeks of China struggling 'no Covid' 3

Since October 17, China has reported at least one community infection case every day, as outbreak clusters continue to flare up in one place after another, with increasingly shorter distances.

Although China’s number of infections is very small compared to many other countries, including the United States, which records an average of more than 100,000 cases per day, sporadic outbreaks over the past 7 weeks show that the challenge is increasing.

Over the past year, China has effectively contained community outbreaks with mass testing, rapid lockdowns, strict surveillance and widespread quarantine, and border closures.

A Covid-19 testing site in Beijing, China in October. Photo: AFP.

However, Chinese authorities have recently had to strengthen control measures, not only for people who have had direct contact with infected cases, but also for people who are F2 and happen to appear in the same place as F0.

Nearly 10,000 tourists were stuck in Inner Mongolia for a week because local officials imposed a blockade after discovering dozens of cases.

Strict measures eventually brought the number of community infections to zero, but it did not last long.

Over the past week, more than 300 cases were reported in Inner Mongolia and this time in Manchuria bordering Russia.

Two city officials were fired over the weekend for their `slow and weak response` to the outbreak, including delaying the quarantine of more than 100 close contacts and mismanagement of quarantine hotels, according to media.

Many local officials across China have also been fired or punished for failing to contain Covid-19 outbreaks.

`The goal of keeping the number of community infections at zero has put enormous pressure on local authorities, forcing them to sometimes impose unnecessarily harsh measures and disrupt people’s lives,` he said.

While Chinese public opinion still seems to support the government’s Covid-19-free strategy, this approach has come under criticism in some areas such as Ruili city on the southern border with Myanmar and Ili district in

In addition to Inner Mongolia, new cases were also discovered scattered in several major Chinese cities, from Beijing, Shanghai to Guangzhou, as well as Heilongjiang, Shaanxi, Hebei and Yunnan provinces this week.

China remains among the last countries trying to maintain a `zero Covid` strategy, while the rest of the world learns to live with the virus.

China has so far not recorded any cases of infection with the Omicron strain.

`Omicron is a booster shot for China’s zero-Covid strategy,` Huang said.

A study by Peking University scientists found that China may have to record more than 630,000 infections a day if it abandons its zero-tolerance policy towards Covid-19.

The team concluded that China should not abandon its zero-Covid-19 strategy until `the vaccination campaign is more effective or there are more specific treatment measures, and preferably both.`

Seven weeks of China struggling 'no Covid'

People line up to wait for Covid-19 testing in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China on November 29.

Over the weekend, Zhong Nanshan, China’s leading respiratory disease expert and government advisor, proposed two prerequisites for abandoning the `zero Covid` strategy: a reduction in the death rate from Covid-19.

In August, researchers studying the Delta strain outbreak in Guangdong province estimated Delta’s R0 coefficient to be 6.4, much higher than the virus strain first discovered in Wuhan.

Even though 76% of the country’s population of more than 1.4 billion people have been fully vaccinated, China will likely continue to maintain its Covid-19-free strategy until `officials are confident that the infection is widespread.`

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