“When we talk about a zero Covid strategy, we don’t think it’s sustainable, considering the behavior of the virus at the moment and the one we expect in the future. […] moving to a different strategy is very important,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a World Health Organization press briefing in Geneva on May 10.
“As Dr. Tedros said, you have to have this ability to adapt to the circumstances, to what you see in the data […] and he spoke about it in detail with the Chinese colleagues”, added his director of emergency situations, Michael Ryan. He recalled that for a time this strategy allowed China to post a very small number of deaths compared to its population.
Faced with the rise in the death toll since February-March, it makes sense for the government to react, noted Michael Ryan, “but all these actions, as we have repeated from the start, must be taken with respect for individuals and communities. human rights”.
Michael Ryan called for “dynamic, adaptable and flexible policies”, because the lack of adaptability has shown during this pandemic that it can cause “a lot of damage”.
Maria Van Kerkhove, in charge of supervising the fight against Covid within the WHO, insisted on the fact that it was today impossible to stop all transmission of the virus.
“Our global goal is not to identify all cases and stop all transmission. It’s really not possible at the moment,” she acknowledged, and insisted: “But what we have to do is reduce the rate of transmission because the virus is circulating at a level high in intensity.”
The WHO almost invisible in China on May 11
Late last week, China again said it would continue with its zero Covid, ‘major trump’ strategy against the coronavirus, despite growing frustration in Shanghai where confined residents are now protesting by banging their pans on windows. .
According to the Chinese authorities – including President Xi Jinping who has put all his weight in the balance for this strategy to continue – the zero Covid policy has allowed the Chinese to live almost normally since 2020 and to limit the number of deaths to less than 5,000 according to the official report.
On May 11, China, according to AFP, censored the words of the WHO. On the Weibo microblogging site, the hashtags #Tedros and #OMS no longer yield any results.
As for users of the very popular social network WeChat, they cannot republish or transfer an article from the official UN account, published on the platform and which mentions the WHO boss’s criticisms. Discussing the subject online with one of his contacts or sending screenshots of articles or tweets mentioning these remarks on his WeChat wall remains possible.
For its part, the Chinese press remains silent. The former editor of the nationalist tabloid GlobalTimesHu Xijin, very influential on the internet, however considers the criticisms of the WHO “unimportant”.
If the restrictions linked to Covid-19 are lifted all over the world, the great Asian power continues to impose confinements and quarantines as soon as a few cases appear. Coupled with the near-closure of borders and reduced international air connectivity, this policy is causing growing exasperation in China.
In particular in Shanghai (East), whose 25 million inhabitants, confined since the beginning of April, complain of supply problems and fear of being sent to quarantine centers with random comfort.