lørdag 21. mars 2020

Chinese Shocked, Awed by UK’s ‘Darwinian’ Coronavirus Strategy

On Friday, the U.K.’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance told a BBC Radio show that the British government would aim to limit — but not halt — the spread of COVID-19, on the grounds that it would be futile to try and stop the virus completely. Vallance told Sky News later that day that the government would aim to achieve “herd immunity” in Britain, saying that once around 60% of the population — some 40 million people — contract the coronavirus, the resulting pool of natural immunity will limit its impact.

The day before, during an emergency committee meeting, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had bluntly admitted that “many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time,” and defended the U.K.’s comparatively limited actions taken against COVID-19.Vallance’s and Johnson’s comments have spread like wildfire on social media in China, where extreme measures such as extended holidays, compulsory quarantines, and citywide lockdowns have been in place for close to two months. While they’ve succeeded in curtailing the spread of the virus, they’ve also crippled small businesses, entire industries, and the overall economy.

On China’s dominant social app WeChat, articles and opinion pieces with headlines such as “UK officially admits: To achieve herd immunity, tens of millions must be infected” have been widely shared. A massive thread discussing Britain’s position on Q&A site Zhihu has received close to 10,000 answers — some filled with statistics and detailed mathematical formulas — and over 35 million views. Netizens are both shocked and amused by what they see as a brave yet foolish strategy for tackling the coronavirus, particularly in contrast with China’s heavy-handed but largely effective approach. “After successfully leaving Europe, they now want to leave the world,” read one widely shared quip.