China keeps 26 million people confined in Shanghai… For a serious case of COVID

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Shanghai is a monstrous megalopolis of 26 million people and the economic heart of China. It is also on the verge of a social explosion after just over a week of extremely strict confinement in which practically everything has failed. But that, after what we have talked about the “#COVIDZero trap”, is not a surprise.

The surprise that is As Stephen McDonell explained, the BBC correspondent in China, the Shanghai Health Commission has acknowledged that “of the 130,000 official infections in the city in this outbreak, there is only one person in serious condition.” Just one. I repeat: only one in serious condition.

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China’s biggest outbreak, in context. In absolute numbers, all of China (with its 1.4 billion inhabitants) today has less than half of new cases that Spain had on February 11, the day the outdoor mask ceased to be mandatory. In fact, until last week officially in China only two people had died of COVID in 2022: our country has accounted for 13,699 in the same period.

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Regardless of the veracity of the official Chinese figures, it is striking that with these epidemiological data such disproportionate confinements continue to be maintained throughout the country and that the authorities continue to show their “unwavering adherence” to the COVID Zero strategy.

A tremendously expensive strategy. That is the question everyone is asking right now. The feeling out of control the lack of food and medicine is brutal; to movements of asymptomatic to quarantine zones; to children separated from their parents by a mere asymptomatic covid, to workers sleeping in their offices already the half-built confinement centers or with people sleeping on cardboard beds) must be added the more than evident signs of social desperation.

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

In recent days, correspondents in China do not stop sharing videos showing the screams, outbreaks of violence and even an alleged wave of suicides. The growing social concern, the continuous management errors and the strict follow-up of the strategy, seem to leave China in a kind of dead end.

How long can the city hold? Especially since the end, in cities like Shanghai, is still very far away. The same day that the first looting was seen in the city, Jilin (in the northwest of the country) announced that it had managed to end the outbreak that affected it after 33 days of strict confinement. That is, three more weeks than the city of Shanghai has been in it.

As we pointed out a few days ago, the feeling of widespread disaster that is spreading around the Shanghai lockdown could have consequences in the medium and long term. Not only because it highlights the limitations of the Chinese scientific, health and logistics apparatus in one of its crown jewels; but because the Congress of the Communist Party of China will be held next November and if the situation gets even more out of control, the hitherto almost untouchable President Xi Jinping will have to make urgent and (in many ways) exceptional decisions.

Image | AP

Shanghai is a monstrous megalopolis of 26 million people and the economic heart of China. It is also on the…

Shanghai is a monstrous megalopolis of 26 million people and the economic heart of China. It is also on the…

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