fredag 30. desember 2022

Why did China relax its Covid policy – and should we be worried?

Experts have argued such restrictions will make little difference to the number of new cases in countries where Covid infection levels are already high. However, if positive samples from such testing are sequenced, the approach could shed light on the variants at play in China.

But experts have warned that the use of border restrictions to keep out new variants has not previously worked well when only applied to particular countries. “Where border closures have had an impact they have applied to almost all arrivals,” said Prof Mark Woolhouse of the University of Edinburgh.

Prof Tom Wenseleers, an evolutionary biologist at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, said while better genetic surveillance was important, he was not particularly concerned about the possibility of new variants emerging in China, given that the main driver for changes to the virus is the shift in the immune landscape resulting from exposure to different naturally circulating variants and vaccination.