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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

China: The World’s Lone Zero Covid Remaining Opponent

The journey started in Shanghai, when the pair, who were both retired professors, joined a group of other retirees on a sightseeing tour. They journeyed across Gansu Province and Inner Mongolia, sleeping in a bed-and-breakfast and having three meals at the same lamb chop restaurant on three different occasions. As they flew south to Xi’an, they stopped at a temple that had been standing for 1,300 years. Their other tour group members went to an art gallery, had a walk around parks, and met with family members and friends.

The pair then tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 16, the day before they were scheduled to see the Terracotta Warriors in Beijing.

Since then, China has closed down a metropolis of 4 million people, as well as numerous smaller towns and portions of Beijing, in order to control a new epidemic of the virus that has infected more than 240 individuals in at least 11 provinces and regions throughout the country. Schools and tourism attractions have been closed by the government. Every step made by the tragic couple and their vast network of connections has been meticulously documented on government websites, including what time they checked into hotels and on which floors of restaurants they ate.

No holds barred approach is indicative of China’s “zero Covid” policy, which has served the nation admirably well: the country has recorded less than 5,000 fatalities since the outbreak started. Despite the fact that the latest epidemic is small in comparison to many other nations, it is significant in China.

However, as a result of the approach, China has increasingly become an outlier. The rest of the globe is reopening, including countries like as New Zealand and Australia, who were formerly staunch supporters of zero tolerance policies. China is presently the only nation that is still attempting to eradicate the virus completely.

The tight strategy of the Chinese government is the result of a series of calculations that are unique to China. Its flourishing export industry has contributed to the country’s ability to stay afloat. Because of the Communist Party’s strong grasp on power, lockdowns and testing can be carried out with astounding efficiency…. The Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing in February of this year.

Chinese people take satisfaction in their low case numbers, which have become a source of national pride. China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has often cited the country’s achievement in nuclear containment as evidence of the superiority of its governance style.

Experts, both in China and outside, have, however, expressed concern that the method is unsustainable. During a period in which global public opinion is hardening against China, the country may find itself further isolated, both diplomatically and economically.

During the early stages of the epidemic, the Chinese Communist Party’s very capacity to maintain control over the virus seemed to be dependent on its ability to manage the virus. Its first efforts to conceal the epidemic in Wuhan sparked an unprecedented outpouring of public outrage. Chinese internet users were inundated with images of overburdened hospitals and people pleading for assistance.

As the virus spread across the rest of the globe, that narrative began to shift…. China’s stringent lockdowns and mass testing operations, which were originally regarded as being too draconian, have now become templates for other nations. As the number of fatalities in western democracies increased, Mr. Xi regularly underlined how swiftly China had reduced its burden of migrant workers. After the first reaction to Wuhan sparked outrage, it gave way to sometimes militant nationalism.

Other nations that have implemented “zero Covid” policies have been lauded as examples of competent administration that place the saving of lives above the convenience of the population and the development of the economy.

China has steadfastly refused to reverse course. During the summer of this year, when Zhang Wenhong, a well-known infectious disease specialist from Shanghai, argued that China should learn to live with the virus, he was violently attacked online as a puppet of foreign powers. A previous Chinese health minister characterised such a way of thinking as “reckless.”

Furthermore, despite the fact that China has attained a very high complete immunisation rate (75 percent of its population), concerns have been raised concerning the effectiveness of the country’s domestically produced vaccines.

And, at least for the time being, the elimination technique looks to be popular with the general population. While inhabitants of locked-down regions have expressed dissatisfaction with what they perceive to be arbitrary or too punitive restrictions on social media, travel is mostly unrestricted in places where there are no instances. Because they are not spending money on vacations overseas, wealthy customers have put their money into luxury products and high-end automobiles.

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