China’s zero-case policy will last for a ‘prolonged’ time: expert

Beijing, Nov 2 (EFE).- The head of China’s team of medical experts against Covid-19, Zhong Nanshan, said in an interview with state-run CCTV network that the country will maintain its “zero-case policy” for Covid-19, which, he said is “less expensive” than living with the disease.

“Some countries decided to open completely despite still having a considerable number of infections and this has led to an increase in infections and to impose restrictions again. This approach is actually more expensive and its impact on society, greater,” Zhong said.

According to the respiratory diseases specialist, Beijing implemented the zero-case policy “as a last resort,” given “the speed with which the pathogen spreads” and “due to the high rate of deaths in the world that, despite the vaccines, it is still about 2 percent.”

“China cannot tolerate such a rate,” he said.

“Although the cost of the Chinese strategy is relatively high, that of the ‘let go’ policy is even higher. Our policy will last for a considerably long time,” Zhong said.

At this time, China is fighting a new outbreak associated with the delta variant of the coronavirus that the authorities try to appease with their usual recipe, consisting of partial or total confinements in some cities, travel restrictions and several rounds of nucleic acid tests in different parts of the country.

In its last part published Tuesday, the National Health Commission announced the detection of 71 new cases of the virus, 54 of them due to local contagion, affecting at least 16 regions of the country.

Likewise, the total number of active infections in mainland China amounts to 912, of which 35 are serious.

Officials describe the situation as “serious and complex,” although Zhong said the outbreak will be controlled “in less than a month.”

The expert also justified the strict entry controls to China put in place from March 2020, meaning passengers who land in the country must present negative PCR and antibody tests before boarding, after which they must quarantine for at least two weeks.

“If China were to open its doors at this time, there would be an outbreak of infections from imported cases,” he said.

In October, Zhong said China will lift its entry restrictions when there are few cases abroad and a proportion of vaccinations between 80 percent and 85 percent has been achieved in the country.

So far, the country has administered 2.2 billion doses of vaccines to its 1.4 billion inhabitants, according to the National Health Commission, which does not publish data on how many people have received the full vaccination course. EFE


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