China “zero COVID“
Contact monitoring, border restrictions, mass screening, and periodic lockdowns are all part of the zero COVID strategy to successfully close down all avenues for a virus-like COVID to spread.
It’s an “elimination” method, not a “mitigation” strategy like COVID management. The objective is to get as close to zero active instances as feasible. Experts feel that the zero COVID technique causes the most disturbance in the lives of those who are subjected to such processes because of the sheer number of measures utilized and the policy’s concentration on suppressive measures, which are used frequently and forcefully.
Despite the fact that several countries have experimented with the zero COVID policy to varying degrees, only a few countries continue to do so, with China being the most prominent.
China has seen its largest epidemic since the original COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan in early 2020, with daily documented cases exceeding 3,500. Despite the fact that this number is minor in relation to the worldwide Omicron outbreak, the outbreak has resulted in the closure of several Chinese towns.
Faced with a spike of positive instances, China’s government has decided to tighten up on its severe zero COVID policy. During a State Council meeting in March, Vice Premier Sun Chunam, the primary coordinator of China’s COVID-19 response, stated that China will continue its zero COVID policy “without hesitation.” As a result, local governments must treat the policy as a “major political responsibility” and “national priority.”
According to sources, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has mobilized all present society forces to carry out the zero-COVID programmed. President Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed the need of “people’s warfare” in the fight against the virus, emphasizing the need for mobilization in China’s pandemic response.
According to researchers like as Kevin J. O’Brien, the Chinese regime is based on accountability, which implies that local governments operate under the cadre accountability system. The cadre responsibility system evaluates the performance of local cadres based on their attainment of policy goals.
The task of the top leadership takes precedence over all policy objectives under the cadre responsibility structure during mobilization. Under the present zero COVID policy, the task of averting a COVID-19 outbreak currently surpasses the requirement of economic growth, which is normally the most important policy aim in the cadre responsible system.
Future of China’s ‘zero COVID’ Policy’
Many experts believe the zero COVID strategy would fail in the long run
While proponents of zero COVID may point to some limited evidence that suggests this strategy results in lower mortality rates and a lower long-term economic impact, most experts doubt the possibility of eliminating an epidemic in such a severe manner.
Most experts say that using zero COVID is like playing a game of whack-a-mole that can’t be controlled for long, especially with more contagious COVID varieties like Delta and Omicron on the increase.
Dr. Michael Oster Holm, head of the Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, told CNBC that trying to stop Omicron is like trying to stop the wind. Furthermore, COVID’s prospects in 2022 are not reflected by zero COVID. With widespread vaccination and findings indicating the Omicron strain causes fewer hospitalizations, he continued, the focus is shifting away from just counting instances.
The zero COVID policy and widespread lockdowns, according to reports, have had a substantial influence on the lives of ordinary Chinese people. More than 4.5 million small businesses closed in 2020, according to projections, with the number expected to climb in 2021.
A COVID-free method is also likely to have greater human costs. China’s mortality rate rose to 7.18 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants in 2021, the highest since 2000. This has resulted in around 160,000 more fatalities compared to 2020.