China’s “Zero Covid” efforts come at a cost


The main Chinese leader said the country has “overcome” the impact of the coronavirus, although sporadic blockades continue in various areas and officials or greater control over imported frozen foods and baby clothes, both extremely unlikely sources of contagion.

The severe, if at times impractical, restrictions stem from China’s struggle to maintain its “zero Covid” strategy. Other nations have gradually eased restrictions as they vaccinate more people, allow more restricted gatherings, and strengthen their health systems for those who get sick. On the contrary, the Communist Party of China has placed a large share of credibility on its ability to completely eradicate the disease.

The leader of China, Xi Jinping, said this week that the country had “overcome the impact of Covid-19”. In propaganda messages from a major party meeting, Communist Party leaders touted the successes of their response in saving lives by downplaying the enormous social and economic cost of such measures.

Government officials defended their approach, saying it is “low cost“And it has allowed the country to recover from the pandemic faster than others. So far, cases remain low. Officials have reported 1,280 in the current epidemic that began in mid-October.

But the limits come with costs. In the event of a new import control, scientists believe widely they will do little to stop people from getting infected. Amid a new Covid-19 outbreak in the port city of Dalian, Chinese officials this week ordered businesses that use imported frozen foods to stop their operations.

In a nearby Hebei province, officials tested hundreds of packages after several workers at a children’s clothing factory were found to be suffering from Covid-19. In Guangxi, a province 1,200 miles south of Hebei, officials went even further, testing every person who had touched or even received a package from the factory.

No people outside the factory reported testing positive.

In addition to inspecting imported frozen foods, China required packages from overseas to be sanitized and encouraged people to use masks and gloves when receiving deliveries. International health organizations have stated that there is a minimal possibility of transmission to surfaces such as cardboard.

Chinese officials in the past have suggested that imports could bring the disease to China. They have been under pressure from the international scientific community and world leaders to reveal more about the source of the outbreak, which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan nearly two years ago.

Officials also continued to impose blockades to deal with occasional eruptions. Whole cities were closed without warning. A city in the southwest has been blocked four times in the past year. About 30,000 visitors to Shanghai Disneyland had to stay and take the test this month before they could leave.

In Beijing, authorities closed dozens of pharmacies that were caught selling cough medicines without requiring customers to register with their name and ID.

The strategy could face a significant challenge as China prepares to host athletes and visitors for the Winter Olympics, which will be held in Beijing in February.

Organizers said the Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place in a bubble where athletes, broadcasters and journalists will have to stay. Already, two foreign Olympic athletes who are in the country for related events have tested positive for Covid-19, Reported by Reuters on Fridays.


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