In this last week, the China has registered a significant increase in the number of infected by the coronavirus. On Sunday alone, 13, a total of 3,939 cases were confirmed – a record for the country, which has never had such a high record in all two years of the pandemic.
Now, some cities in the country go into lockdown as a measure to contain the outbreak. The biggest so far is Shenzhen, with 17.5 million people, while Shanghai has been closing neighborhood by neighborhood and carrying out mass testing. The Chinese government has also made self-tests available to the population.
China adopts the policy of “covid zero” since the beginning of the pandemic: social isolation and mass testing in regions with outbreaks of the disease have already become routine for the Chinese people, but it has been raising doubts about its effectiveness in the long term. This is because the population of countries that have not followed such strict measures today appear to be more immunized, both by vaccines and by natural protection after having had contact with the virus.
As the zero covid policy prevented the Chinese population from having contact with covid, natural protection may be less. However, it is worth noting that China had few deaths from the disease: there were 4,500 deaths for 116,000 cases recorded since the beginning of the pandemic. For comparison, Brazil has almost 30 million cases and more than 600 thousand deaths.
In addition, with several countries accepting that “we will have to learn to live with covid” and starting to treat the disease as an endemic disease, the idea of “covid zero” ends up sounding less realistic as time goes by.
Zhang Yan, a health official from Jilin province, which has also entered lockdown, recently criticized the country’s decisions: “Emergency response mechanisms in some areas are not robust enough, there is not enough understanding of the characteristics of the omnitron variant. and there were wrong decisions”.
In an interview with AFPa resident of Shenzhen said: “It’s the worst quarantine since 2020. A friend woke up in the morning to find her building had been cordoned off overnight without warning. Her boss had to send her a laptop.”
What is the variant behind?
Everything indicates that the ômicron variant is responsible for the increase in the number of cases, specifically BA-2, its subvariant. The strain that caused a new wave of coronaviruses around the world in early 2022 is more transmissible and more resistant to the first wave of vaccines, but new versions aimed at the micron will soon be distributed by drugmakers like Pfizer.
the news agency Reuters states that more than 30% of the 2022 cases were found in Jilin Province, and that the region is struggling to contain the rapid spread of the omicron subvariant. An infectious disease expert affiliated with Shanghai University, Zhang Wenhong, also claims that much of the outbreak is due to the BA.2 lineage.
For now, the Chinese government has indicated that it will continue to maintain its zero covid strategy. Wenhong warns that the numbers are in the early stages and indicate a possible “exponential increase” in the coming weeks.
“If our country opens up quickly now, it will cause a large number of infections in people in a short period of time,” the expert said. , causing irreparable harm to families and society.”