mandag 21. mars 2022

China Doubles Down on Zero-COVID as Incredible Year Without Deaths Ends

Chinese authorities are doubling down on the country's zero-COVID policy even as a recent surge in cases adds pressure to the stringent approach and China's economy. The Omicron-fueled increase in the country's COVID case numbers is testing China's zero-COVID policy, which aims to quickly squash any outbreak through strict safety measures and immediate lockdowns.

China has pointed to the measures as a success in curbing the pandemic—as the government reported no COVID deaths from January 2021 until March 19 of this year. But the current surge in cases is putting strain on its economy, as the more mild and transmissible Omicron variant threatens widespread closures in some provinces. Despite economic concerns, officials in China are standing by the zero-COVID policy, pointing to the country's relatively low number of cases amid the outbreak as proof that the approach continues to work.

Liang Wannian, head of China's National Health Commission COVID-19 response expert panel, defended the policy during an appearance on China Central Television that was reported on by Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post.