China is back to square one in its new covid wave

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“If parents test positive for COVID and have to be isolated, the city will provide quick help to underserved children. […] They will be assigned a ‘temporary guardian’ or relocated to places provided for this purpose. these statements They are from Zeng Qun, a municipal official in Shanghai, and, although it may seem so, they are not from the beginning of 2020: he made them this very Saturday, April 2. I can think of no better example of how far China is willing to go to get out of the pandemic mess it finds itself in right now.

Shanghai remains in lockdown. In other words, as I write these lines, 26 million people have been locked up in their homes for days waiting for the COVID figures to improve. The problem is that they don’t. Despite the measures of the Chinese Government, the outbreak that affects the largest city in China has not stopped growing.

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The latest official data they speak of 438 new confirmed cases in hospital centers and another 7,788 asymptomatic cases detected in the detention and control campaigns; what translated means: more than the previous day.

what’s coming. And, indeed, they are modest figures if we compare them with those used by Western countries during these two years. However, we are talking about what in a few days will be the largest outbreak in the country since the city of Wuhan was closed at the end of 2019. That is, it is not so much about what it is right now, as what it puts on top of table.

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An increasingly tense situation…. And full of uncertainties. Because the authorities have asked the inhabitants of the city to self-assess daily to rule out the presence of the virus and have recommended the use of masks at home or avoid contact with family members. In recent days, several showrooms in the city have been transformed into makeshift quarantine centers because strict privacy policy of the positives still stands.

…in which food, medicine and other services are lacking. Although the closure of the city began on April 1, there are areas that have been confined for more than two weeks. And we are talking about a really strict confinement in which you cannot even go out to do the shopping. This has already begun to be noticed in the supply problems of food (home deliveries are overwhelmed), availability of medicines and all kinds of services that go through a huge bottleneck, in a city that not logistically ready for such a challenge.

China stands firm on COVIDZero. Sun Chunlan, member of the Politburo of the Communist Party, made self-criticism a few days ago and urged to “prompt and resolute measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in Shanghai in the shortest possible time.” However, he emphasized the country’s “unwavering adherence” to “COVIDZero”, despite recognizing the social and economic cost of this strategy.

Covid Zero was the model to follow for months.  Now their countries are still prisoners of confinements

cover up other problems. This insistence on the strategy is making more and more experts think that it is not an “option”, but that it is the only way for China to stop the epidemic after the immune failure of its vaccines. Throughout 2021 we could see how they emerged every time more reports that left Chinese vaccines in a lower step of effectiveness compared to Western ones.

First, because, although they protected against serious illness and death, they were not very effective against contagion (we speak of efficiencies around or below 50%). And, second, because it seemed that immunity was declining very quickly. After all, if we listen to the official figures, China has more than 85% of its population fully vaccinated and, however, it has been confining parts of the country for months to try to stop Ómicron.

The perfect Storm. Without natural immunity, with the progressive decline of acquired immunity and without a way to combat the virus that does not go through repeating the same strategies that were used at the beginning of the pandemic, China finds itself in an alley where it is very difficult to find the solution. Exit. Even more so with a CCP Congress next November that can complicate the life of the, until now, almost untouchable President Xi Jinping.

Image | Joshua Fernandez

“If parents test positive for COVID and have to be isolated, the city will provide quick help to underserved children.…

“If parents test positive for COVID and have to be isolated, the city will provide quick help to underserved children.…

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