Beijing unshakable in no-nonsense pandemic strategy

Beijing, Apr 13 (EFE).- As Shanghai continues its city-wide lockdown, reports have emerged on social media of escalating exhaustion among the financial hub’s residents with authorities insisting that the Covid outbreak can be defeated by the country’s zero-tolerance Covid rule.

An uptick of caseloads continues with 1,189 symptomatic infections and over 20,000 asymptomatic infections recorded Wednesday, compared to Tuesday’s 994 and Monday’s 1,006 symptomatic cases.

As China grapples with its largest outbreak since the pandemic began, with over 20,000 active infections and over 200,000 asymptomatic cases in several provinces, authorities have restricted the movement of people, shuttered borders and confined entire cities.

Shanghai, China’s most prosperous city and home to 26 million people, officially recorded the outbreak on March 28, although by then several residential buildings had been locked down for weeks.

Residents have since reported food shortages and live in fear of being forced into isolation centers where reports have emerged of unhygienic conditions.

But authorities have remained inflexible with a raft of strict rules in place, despite the current wave only resulting in two deaths so far.

Beijing fears that relaxing measures could result in a sharp spike of Covid deaths and is concerned many older people have not received a third vaccine dose.

As criticism continues to escalate both domestically and abroad, state-run newspaper China Daily on Wednesday published an article accusing Western media of attacking Beijing over its policies amid the “failures of the United States and European countries to contain the pandemic.”

“Yes, the situation in Shanghai is dire, but China is a big country. There are plenty of cities that have experienced Omicron outbreaks but made it through with minimal consequences,” China Daily reported.

The article cites the cities of Shenzhen, Qingdao, Tianjin and Dongguan as examples of densely populated hubs that have managed to nip the highly transmissible Omicron variant in the bud “with an early lockdown and mass mobilization of personnel to conduct testing and supply essentials to households.”

According to the state-run newspaper, the situation in Shanghai has shown how quickly things can escalate and says that until most of the population has been vaccinated with three doses a “‘live with it’ strategy could become a ‘die with it’ strategy in record time.”

The report goes on to say that it would be immoral to trade human lives for economic profit, in a further bid to defend China’s stringent rules.

Beijing is hopeful local authorities will stem the current wave of infections, and as Shanghai endures its worst week of lockdown to date, Chinese president Xi Jinping is on an inspection tour of the island province of Hainan, where he has advised Communist Party members to not “harbor any selfish interests” and “to put all their efforts into ensuring the people live a good life.” EFE


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