China is currently dealing with its worst COVID-19 outbreak since Wuhan. One of its largest cities, Shanghai, a metropolis of some 25 million people, is working to slow the spread of the virus, and in a bid to do so, the government confined people to their homes, imposed strict lockdowns and facilitated multiple massive rounds. tests.
However, the lockdowns have seriously impacted the mental, social and economic situation of people, leading them to protest and express their anger in the form of violence. What’s worse is that even after the country’s strict COVID policies, there has been a steady rise in cases, which is one of the reasons things aren’t getting back to normal. Even as Shanghai prepares to ease its lockdown, seven COVID-19 deaths were reported today (Wednesday, April 20).
What is China’s Zero COVID Policy?
Since the beginning of the pandemic, namely the Wuhan outbreak, China’s ‘Zero COVID’ strategy has proven to be exceptionally strict. It not only includes strict lockdowns and intrusive surveillance of the Chinese population but also facilitates immediate mass testing. Unlike many other countries, China was successful in initially managing the COVID crisis, until the appearance of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
That said, the “zero COVID policy” is the Chinese government’s way of dealing with the coronavirus crisis, and so far it is said to have contained more than 30 outbreaks, including those that were fueled by Delta.
Unlike lockdown strategies in other countries, it is incredibly rigid, meaning it involves confining people to their homes and buildings, restricting their movements, and forcibly transferring COVID-positive patients and high-risk contacts. to government-licensed quarantine facilities.
In addition, public places such as schools, supermarkets, tourist areas, and shopping malls are off-limits to people, and with the help of mandatory track-and-trace apps, close contacts are often immediately identified and quarantined.
How are people in Shanghai dealing with its strict lockdowns?
Since the imposition of lockdowns in Shanghai, residents have continually expressed their frustrations in the form of protests, shouting and more. Social networks have been filled with videos showing the desperation of the Chinese people. Residents have been screaming from their apartment balconies after being confined indoors for days.
Lockdowns have taken a heavy toll on people’s daily lives. From the shortage of food and medicine supplies to the deprivation of basic elements, all these factors have triggered widespread anger and exasperation.
Furthermore, since China’s dynamic zero-COVID policy requires everyone who tests positive to be isolated and quarantined, children are also being ripped apart and separated from their parents. An Israeli businessman told Time that two of his children, ages 9 and 13, were taken and isolated in a Shanghai hospital for a month after testing positive in March 2020.
Parents have raised and continue to raise their voices against the separation of children in such critical times. Reports suggest that foreign diplomats from more than 30 countries have already sent letters to the government to protest the ongoing practice.
Why are COVID cases continuing to rise?
As of today (Wednesday, April 20), Shanghai has reported more than 18,000 new and mostly asymptomatic cases of coronavirus. Since March, the count has surpassed 400,000 infections and on Monday, the city reported its first death from COVID-19.
As the country continues to extend its strict policies, coronavirus cases continue to rise. Experts have said that the increase in numbers is due to the prevalence of highly transmissible Omicron variants.
The omicron variant was discovered in November 2021 by researchers in South Africa. However, within a few weeks, the variant was found to have several other BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3 sublineages, which were just as contagious as its parent strain.
Reports of deaths from COVID-19; low vaccination rate in China’s large elderly population to blame?
Shanghai officials reported seven COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, bringing the total death count to 17. Although the official figures appear low, experts have expressed doubts, saying most of the patients were elderly and unvaccinated.
According to reports, the first three people who died were older adults and had not received their COVID-19 vaccine. Similarly, the seven people who died were between the ages of 60 and 101 and were also unvaccinated, city health official Wu Qianyu told a news conference. Additionally, the patients who succumbed to the virus also had pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, according to officials.
What we should learn from the COVID situation in China?
China’s Zero COVID policy has become a major topic of discussion in recent times. While it is a frightening and exhaustive strategy, it is a reminder that the COVID pandemic is not over yet.
With that said, wearing your masks, maintaining social distance, being aware of your symptoms, and self-isolating are some steps you need to take to slow the spread of the virus.
As COVID cases have started to rise in many states in India, it is important to be more vigilant to prevent another wave. Also, those who have not yet received their vaccinations, please do so immediately. While major infections are possible, COVID vaccines remain our best bet against the virus.
- What is China’s Zero COVID Policy?
The Zero COVID policy is a public health policy implemented by the Chinese government to curb the spread of the SARs-CoV-2 virus. It is in contrast to the strategy of living with COVID-19 and involves strict lockdowns, mass testing, border quarantine and more.
- Which countries have the highest COVID cases right now?
Currently, the United States, India and Brazil have the highest cases of COVID. According to reports, 226 countries and territories worldwide have reported a total of 506,103,967 confirmed cases of COVID-19 along with a death toll of 6,228,338.
- Why are COVID cases increasing?
The fast-spreading Omicron variant is said to be driving the current rally in different parts of the world.