søndag 29. januar 2023

‘It was all for nothing’: Chinese count cost of Xi’s snap decision to let Covid rip

When Sunny thinks back to March last year, she laughs ruefully at the ordeal. The 19-year-old Shanghai student spent that month locked in her dormitory, unable to shop for essentials or wash clothes, even banned from showering for two weeks over Covid fears. In April, the entire city locked down. It was the beginning of the chaos of 2022, as local Chinese authorities desperately tried to follow President Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid decree while facing the most virulent strain of the virus yet: Omicron. “Everyone was panicking, no one was ready,” she tells the Observer.

By the end of the year, zero-Covid was gone. Sunny says she felt instantly “relieved” that lockdowns were over but her feelings soon turned to anger as it became clear China’s government had opened up the country, knowing it wasn’t ready. “I felt it was all for nothing,” Sunny says.