China’s much-vaunted aggressive zero COVID policy has come under heavy criticism from the World Health Organization (WHO), which has called it unsustainable given the ever-evolving of the behavior of the coronavirus and called on Beijing to change its strategy. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said as much on Tuesday when commenting on China’s zero COVID policy under which many Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, were either in lockdown or semi-lockdown for decades. extended periods.
As we all know, the virus evolves, changes its behavior and becomes more transmissible. With this change in behavior, changing your metrics will be very important, Tedros said. “When we talk about a zero COVID strategy, we don’t think it is sustainable given the current behavior of the virus and what we anticipate in the future, especially when we now have a good knowledge and understanding of the virus,” he told a press briefing in Geneva.
With the right tools available, the transition to another strategy will be very important, Tedros said in the recording of his press conference released by the WHO to the media. “We discussed this issue with Chinese experts and we indicated that the approach will not be sustainable, given the behavior of the virus, I think a change will be very important,” he said in statements. scathing comments towards China’s vigorously pursued zero-COVID policy. by Beijing under the directives of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
However, China dismissed the WHO chief’s harsh criticism and told him to refrain from making “irresponsible remarks”. “We hope the relevant person will take an objective and reasonable view of China’s epidemic protocol and policy and try to better understand the facts and refrain from making irresponsible remarks,” the spokesperson for the ministry said. Foreign Affairs Zhao Lijian at a press briefing.
Zhao said no matter how difficult it is, the Chinese people and the government have full confidence in bringing the virus under control. “We have the foundation and the capacity to carry out the zero COVID policy, which is a protocol suitable for China’s national conditions,” he said.
Previously, Chinese sensors rushed to clean up Chinese social media, especially Twitter-like Weibo, to delete comments by Tedros that were highly critical of the Zero COVID policy of putting a number of cities on lockdown or in semi-containment to deal with the spread of the Omicron variant.
China’s National Health Commission reported 1,847 cases on Wednesday, mostly in Shanghai, the country’s commercial hub with more than 25 million people, which has remained under control for more than a month.
In addition, the capital Beijing, which is in semi-lockdown, carried out the ninth nucleic acid test for its more than 21 million inhabitants on Wednesday. The 10th test will take place on Thursday. As China continues to fight a grim battle to curb the spread of the Omicron variant, President Xi has urged officials to strictly adhere to the much-criticised dynamic zero-COVID policy, saying epidemic prevention has reached a crucial stage.
In his high-profile comments at the meeting of the ruling Communist Party’s high-powered political bureau in Beijing to review the COVID-19 situation on May 4, Xi stressed that epidemic prevention and control are at a critical juncture and called for efforts to adhere to zero COVID political momentum.
China last week canceled the 2022 Asian Games due to be held in Hangzhou in September and the World University Games due to start in Chengdu at the end of June, as Beijing reportedly cleared the way for the main Congress of the Communist Party of China (CCP ) in power later this month. year, which was widely expected to confirm a rare third term for Xi.
As part of those preparations for Congress, authorities have been ordered to remove any potential social and political risk, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported last week. Under the zero COVID policy, China has also canceled flights with several countries, including India, for more than two years.
In addition to criticism from the WHO, more than 20 university professors across China have called on the city of Shanghai to end “over-prevention of the pandemic”, arguing that some policies implemented during the lockdown over of a month from the city contradicted the rule of law. The academics, led by Tong Zhiwei, professor of constitutional studies at the East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, made the call in a letter posted online on Sunday.
The letter circulated on social media for several hours before being censored. Tong’s Weibo account, which had more than 400,000 followers, was also suspended. In the letter, Tong, who is a member of the Communist Party, wrote that the consequences of the pandemic restrictions were severe and could lead to some kind of legal disaster, the Post reported on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a study published by media here in defense of the zero COVID policy said China could see over 1.5 million deaths from a wave of Omicron infections without COVID-19 controls and use. antiviral therapies. A model from Chinese and American researchers suggested that, given China’s vaccine effectiveness and coverage, an uncontrolled outbreak that began with 20 cases of Omicron in March could generate a tsunami of COVID-19 cases. between May and July.
Such an outbreak is expected to cause 112 million symptomatic cases, or 80 cases per 1,000 people, with 2.7 million requiring intensive care treatment, according to the study published by the Post. They estimated that unvaccinated people over the age of 60 would account for three quarters (74.7%) of deaths, considering that 52 million people in this age group were not fully vaccinated by mid-March .
Since the deadly coronavirus first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, it has claimed 62,55,791 lives and infected more than 51,87,94,928.