In response to concerns about the omicron coronavirus variant, China celebrates the decision to limit international travel as part of its “zero contraception” policy.
According to early tests, omicron coronavirus variant is more transmissible than Delta. A strain first discovered in southern Africa and labeled as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization. However, scientists warn against panicking as they conduct more studies to determine how virulent the variant is.
Despite a global shift toward gradually opening borders and mitigating the spread, vaccination rates rose before the discovery of Omicron. Beijing’s commitment to eliminating Coronavirus made the country an outlier.
Now that nations are reversing course and tightening their borders, Chinese officials are claiming that their approach was right. They are brushing off the idea of drastic measures to combat omicron.
Leading infectious disease expert Zhong Nanshan told local media that China is unlikely to take significant action until more test results are available. However, on Monday, the National Health Commission released an official statement on omicron stating that China’s prevention method still works.
China’s Take on New Variants
The arrival of Delta this year in China triggered a debate among Chinese experts about whether to avoid disruptions each time the virus breaches China’s defenses. As a result, China should switch from zero covid to a mitigation strategy.
A sense that China would soon have to accept coexistence with the virus was fueled by complaints of rolling lockdowns. These lockdowns were disrupting daily life in hard-hit places like the southwestern border town of Ruili.
Though 76 percent of China’s population is fully vaccinated, the Government is likely to keep China’s zero-covid strategy. “In case the spread of a widespread infection strains the health care systems,” said Mark Williams, chief east Asia economist at Capital Economics.
China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a study last week. According to this study, adopting a mitigation strategy would cause severe cases to exceed the peak within one or two days causing a devastating effect on China’s medical system.
Currently, we aren’t ready to embrace open-source strategies, the report said.
Wu Zunyou, China CDC’s chief epidemiologist, told a conference organized by financial media outlet Caijing on Sunday that the policy of encircling and eliminating covid is essential to keep the pandemic at bay.
By refusing to adopt the more flexible approach of countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. Wu estimates that China was able to prevent 260 million infections and 3 million deaths.
China cannot afford to “overturn” its past successes by making a mistake. This is why the quarantine on entry and zero-tolerance policy should remain in place until at least winter or spring.
For some Chinese commentators, being right about covid policy is more than a victory for public health. It’s a battle of competing political systems, and omicron serves only to bolster propaganda claims of the Communist Party’s superiority.
The Chinese aren’t ready to live with the virus
In Europe and North America, where the idea of living with the virus is becoming more prevalent, the Western media has criticized China’s ‘dynamic zero-covid’ policy as expensive and not sustainable. On Tuesday, People’s Daily Overseas Edition, an official party newspaper, published a commentary saying, “This point of view is absolutely incorrect.”
The difficulties Western countries have in implementing quarantine policies, a major setback to epidemic prevention. They are due to differences in governance systems, explains Jing Li of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
As a result of the arrival of “vaccine nationalism” in the wake of Omicron. China’s ambition to become a leading provider of vaccines to low- and middle-income countries may also gain a boost.
China’s President Xi Jinping announced on Monday that 600 million doses of Chinese vaccines would be donated to Africa within the next year in an effort to “heal the immunity gap” on the continent.
The amount represents a significant increase over the 107 million doses delivered to date, according to Bridge Consulting, a Beijing-based research firm.