This Country Inclined To Get Back To Phase Of ‘Zero-COVID’

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  • Since October 17, China has reported at least one locally transmitted case every day, as local outbreaks continue to flare up one after another with increasingly short intermissions.
  • For more than a year, China has been highly efficient in curbing local outbreaks with mass testing, snap lockdowns, vigilant surveillance and extensive quarantines — all the while keeping the border tightly sealed.
  • As proof of the success of these measures, not a single Covid-related death has been reported in the country since late January.

China is as determined as ever to eradicate Covid-19 within its borders as the globe grapples with the new Omicron coronavirus type — but it has been unable to do so for the previous seven weeks as reported by CNN.

Local outbreaks

Since October 17, China has reported at least one locally transmitted case every day, as local outbreaks continue to flare up one after another with increasingly short intermissions.

While its caseload pales in comparison with those of many countries — including the United States, which is averaging more than 100,000 new cases a day — the unceasing flareups underscore the growing challenge China faces to keep infections at zero.

For more than a year, China has been highly efficient in curbing local outbreaks with mass testing, snap lockdowns, vigilant surveillance and extensive quarantines — all the while keeping the border tightly sealed.

As proof of the success of these measures, not a single Covid-related death has been reported in the country since late January.

More recently, however, authorities have resorted to ever more stringent measures, quarantining not only residents who have been in direct contact with an infected person, but also secondary contacts and people who happen to be in the same general area at about the same time.

Strict measures

These strict measures eventually succeeded in bringing infections in those specific localities down to zero — but not for long.

Over the past week, more than 300 cases have been reported in Inner Mongolia, this time in Manzhouli, a crucial port of entry bordering Russia.

The local government imposed a snap lockdown, and the city is currently rolling out the 9th round of mass testing for its more than 150,000 residents — but that still isn’t quick enough in the eyes of higher authorities.

Another four officials were criticized for their lacklustre performances.

Local officials across China have been fired or punished for failing to contain Covid flare-ups.

The provinces of Heilongjiang, Shaanxi, Hebei and Yunnan also reported cases.

Travel restrictions

China remains one of the last countries attempting to maintain zero-Covid, as the rest of the world learns to live with the virus.

But the arrival of the Omicron variant has sent nations in a scramble to impose travel restrictions — and if anything only strengthened China’s intent to keep its borders tightly sealed. 

A recent study by mathematicians at the country’s prestigious Peking University has found that China could face more than 630,000 Covid-19 infections a day if it dropped its zero-tolerance policies by lifting travel curbs — which would “almost certainly induce an unaffordable burden on the medical system,” the report said.

In August, researchers who studied a Delta variant outbreak in Guangdong province estimated Delta’s basic reproduction number to be 6.4 — which is much higher than the coronavirus variant first detected in Wuhan.

The World Health Organization says it is not yet clear whether the new Omicron variant is more transmissible than Delta.

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Source: CNN

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