Wave of cases tests China’s COVID-19 strategy

Pandemic prevention staff in protecting fits stroll outdoors a locked-down residential compound as outbreaks of the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) proceed in Beijing, China on November 18, 2022.
| Photograph Credit score: Reuters

China on Saturday reported its first official COVID-19 death in close to six months because the nation battled a file wave of instances which have examined the federal government’s “zero-COVID” strategy.

An 87-year-old man died in Beijing on Saturday, the primary loss of life introduced by authorities since Could when Shanghai was battling a wave of instances and confronted a two month lockdown.

The Chinese language capital was this weekend in a state of partial lock down. Whereas there was no sweeping lockdown order as was seen in Shanghai earlier this 12 months – a mirrored image of a brand new “focused” strategy following a current easing of guidelines – most eating places and colleges have closed, with the capital reporting greater than 600 instances on Sunday.

Whereas the excessive numbers would have triggered a city-wide lockdown previously, the Communist Get together management not too long ago introduced 20 measures geared toward easing sweeping restrictions. Sustaining that the “zero-COVID” coverage was nonetheless in impact, the brand new measures name for extra focused and exact lockdowns, as an illustration closing off particular buildings quite than whole districts or cities. Underneath the brand new measures, mass testing in cities is being discouraged whereas secondary contacts of optimistic instances are now not traced or quarantined.

The amended strategy is now being examined each in Beijing and in Guangzhou, the southern manufacturing hub that accounted for one-third of the greater than 24,000 nationwide instances reported on Sunday.

Chinese language authorities have continued with “zero-COVID” three years into the pandemic, citing the low aged vaccination charges that will lead to mass deaths if the nation opened up totally. Solely two-thirds of the aged inhabitants have acquired a booster. State media in China additionally proceed to stress the seriousness of COVID-19 as a life-threatening sickness, and have warned towards residing with the virus in distinction to the remainder of the world.

“If a number of million aged individuals above 80 years of age haven’t been vaccinated, it should pose a possible danger,” Hong Kong College virologist Jin Dongyan informed the South China Morning Put up on Sunday. “A very powerful level is public training. It is best to give the right data to the general public. Many individuals’s understanding of Covid nonetheless stays on the degree of the preliminary [2020] outbreak in Wuhan. Subsequently, that is what must be defined higher.”

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