zero covid strategy

The Zero-Covid Strategy




part pandemic go/went/gone (2)
tactic strategy lockdown
resist course (2) commission
effort approach choose/chose/chosen
insist swerve come to nothing
severe mean (3) run/ran/run (2)
suit (3) hazmat quarantine
fence disinfect correspondent
flat (2) magnet leave/left/left
alarm situation make sure
panic under (2) buy/bought/bought
rumor spark (2) lay down (2)
port resident restriction
mess record (3) few/fewer/fewest
advice aim (2) comparison
cost mass (2) commitment
growth forecast cut/cut/cut (2)
affect target (2) monitor (2)
effects keen (2) disruption
threat container supply chain
hobble chain (2) come at a cost
fear current busy/busier/busiest
warn case (3) tell/told/told
expect impact big/bigger/biggest
policy figure (3) pressure (2)
variant confirm rise/rose/risen
factor conclude drive/drove/driven
dose vaccine vulnerable
boost disease undermine
spread argument rudimentary
tout sign (3) border (2)
ensure infection superiority
explain dynamic transmissible
blunt complex manage (2)
agree emerge social media
tight force (3) confrontation
shift turn into spring up (2)
toll (2) absolute equation (2)
legacy situation associate (2)
in time damage short term






In many parts of the world, most covid restrictions are gone. But in China, this remains the strategy: lockdown such as this one in Shanghai. And any change of course is being resisted.

Professor Liang Wannian, China’s National Health Commission: “If we chose to lay down now, our efforts will have come to nothing. We unswervingly insist on zero covid.”

Zero covid means lockdowns. It means mass testing. And it means anyone who tests positive going to a government-run quarantine center.

Also in Shanghai, we’ve seen officials in hazmat suits disinfecting the streets and fences to stop people leaving their flats.

And we’ve seen this too:

Robin Brant, Shanghai Correspondent: “Electronic magnetic alarms are going to be placed on the front doors of some people in places where they have tested positive to try and monitor them to make sure they don’t leave.”

And if that’s in Shanghai, elsewhere more than 20 other Chinese cities are under some form of lockdown. And in the capital Beijing, people know they could be next.

There’s been panic buying after new covert cases sparked rumors of a lockdown. That hasn’t happened, but millions of residents have been tested.

Now the zero-covered approaches save lives during the pandemic: in China there have been fewer than 5,000 recorded covid deaths; in the US it’s close to a million.

And the Chinese government is keen to make that comparison:

Dr. Wang Wen, Advisor to the Chinese Government: China has a 1.4 billion people which is much more than all 30 countries of the West. But in the past two years the death toll of covid in China is only less than one percent of that in the West.”

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But China’s zero covid commitment may come at a cost. The international monetary fund has cut its growth forecast for the Chinese economy this year to 4.4 percent. China’s target is 5.5.

And if China’s growth slows, that could affect us all.

Ben Chu, Economics Editor, BBC Newsnight: “The lockdown situation in China is not only a threat to the Chinese economy, but the world economy as well, very much including the UK. Shanghai is home to the world’s largest container port which is now hobbled.

The fear is of disruption to global supply chains, which are already severely stressed.”

Those supply chains take goods from China to the rest of the world. And the warning from the head of one of Europe’s busiest ports is blunt. He told Bloomberg,

Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO, Port of Antwerp: “We expect a bigger mess than last year it will have a negative impact, and a big negative impact for the whole of 2022.”

There’s pressure on supply chains. There’s pressure on China’s covid policy, and that pressure is coming from these figures:

At the beginning of March, there were 300 confirmed cases a day. Now two months later it’s close to 30,000 a day, and that rise is being driven by the omicron variant.

We know it’s highly transmissible. But there’s another factor too: vaccines. Fifty one percent of over 80 have had two doses, but just 20 percent have had a third booster dose.

Because of this, some of China’s elderly remain vulnerable to covid. And china’s health care system is vulnerable too.

Professor David Goodman, University of Sydney: “The real problem in China is not that people are dying, but that they might die. And that the disease the infections might spread because outside the bigger cities like Beijing and Shanghai health care is borders often on the rudimentary.”

Health care, vaccine rates, omicron. These are all used as arguments for zero covid.

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But this is about politics too.

Professor Jane Duckett, University of Glasgow: “They’ve been touting for a long time that this is a sign of the superiority of China’s political system compared with the West.

It would be really damaging for them politically really to see that undermined, and to see deaths rising.”

All of which helps to explain why the state-run Global Times has concluded that dynamic zero covid policy is the only way out of the current complex situation.

But not everyone agrees this is the only way. Chinese social media is tightly controlled. But videos have emerged: a protest like this one in Shanghai. And then this is a confrontation as police force people out of their homes; their apartment block is being turned into a quarantine center.

Now though for whatever reasons, China’s policy has shifted a little. Here’s Robin Brandt again.

Robin Brant, Shanghai Correspondent: “It’s not aiming for absolute zero covid now. What it’s aiming for is something it called “societal zero covids”. So no cases springing up outside of quarantine centers.”

More significant shifts appear unlikely though, not least because this autumn President Xi will seek an unprecedented third term in power. And covid is part of the equation.

Dr. Yu Jie, Chatham House: “This is very closely associated with President Xi on his political legacy that managed to create a zero-covid society. And the Chinese population expect a society that is covid-free.

In time, the virus may ensure that expectation isn’t met. But in the short-term it’s one of the reasons why the world is going in one direction on covid, and China is going in another.

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Covid, Coronavirus. Has the entire world eased up (loosened up) on covid measures, increasing covid measures, both or neither?

Common Cold. The primary goal of the government of China economic growth?

Flu, Influenza. Describe the measures that officials have taken in Shanghai. What measures have officials in Shanghai taken? Are they basic, high-tech or both?

Pneumonia. Are covid restrictions limited to Shanghai? Do the lockdowns start and end from one city to the next?

Fever, Cough, Sneeze.
So far, has China been successful in combating covid?

Measles, Smallpox, Chickenpox. The restrictions and lockdowns only affect the economy of Shanghai. Is this right or wrong?

Mumps. From a public health standpoint, why are Chinese authorities determined to stamp out covid? From a medical perspective, why are officials determined to minimize the spread of covid?

Tetanus, Hepatitis, Jaundice. According to outsiders, is the Chinese government’s approach practical? What do foreigners think of China’s approach towards covid?
Polio, Typhus, Malaria. Covid has infected my town, city, region and, or country. Yes or no?

Typhoid Fever. Have there been restrictions, lockdowns and public health mandates? What have they been? Describe changes in people’s lives.

Meningitis. Have been major or minor disruptions to people’s lives? Have businesses, politicians and ordinary people complained?

Cancer, Malignant Tumor. What is the situation now? Has things changed since the beginning of 2020?

Heart Disease, Cardiovascular Disease. Has covid been entirely bad (negative), bad, in the middle, both good and bad, good or wonderful?

Stroke, Hemophilia. What could or should people, health officials and governments do?

What might happen in the future?

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