Delta Variant challenges China’s costly blockade strategy


Beijing (AP) — Delta Variant is challenging China’s costly strategy of sequestering cities, and Chinese leaders who are confident that they can eliminate the coronavirus abroad have a less destructive approach. It warns that it is needed.

Now pushes highly contagious variants U.S. leader, Such as Australia, in order to update the regulations, Xi Jinping President government of, since the peak in Wuhan last year, are fighting the most serious occurrence. The ruling Communist Party is reviving the tactics of closing China. Access to the city of 1.5 million people was blocked, flights were canceled, and mass inspections were ordered in some areas.

Its “zero-tolerance” strategy, which seeks to isolate all cases and stop new infections from abroad, helped contain the outbreak last year and kept China almost virus-free. But the impact on the work and livelihoods of millions of people warns that China needs to learn to control the virus without repeatedly shutting down its economy and society.

Zhang Wenhong, a Shanghai doctor who became prominent during the Wuhan outbreak, said in a social media post that recent outbreaks suggest that China’s strategy may change because the virus does not go away.

“The world needs to learn how to co-exist with this virus,” writes Zhang, who has 3 million followers on the widely used Weibo platform.

China’s controls will be tested when thousands of athletes and reporters arrive at the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February. And the ruling party faces a change of politically sensitive leaders in late 2022, and leaders want a bright economic situation.

Last year, China closed many of the world’s second-largest economies, blocking access to cities totaling 60 million people. This is a tactic that has been imitated on a small scale by governments from Asia to the Americas. It caused China’s most painful economic contraction in 50 years, but Beijing was able to allow it to resume business and domestic travel in March 2020.

New infections in many already vaccinated people have shaken global financial markets and are concerned that Beijing’s response could disrupt manufacturing and supply chains. Major stock indexes in Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong fell on Tuesday, but rose again on Thursday.

Xi Chen, a health economist at Yale School of Public Health, said China will move to create barriers to infections within the community by strengthening vaccinations, treating infected people quickly, and advancing business and travel. He said it was necessary. He said the country needs access to the full range of vaccines, including allowing shots developed by Germany’s BioNTech.

“I don’t think we can maintain“ zero tolerance ”,” Chen said. “Even if we could blockade all parts of China, people could still die, and more could die because of hunger and unemployment.”

However, Beijing has shown no sign of abandoning that tactic.

He Chinhwa, a staff member of the National Health Commission’s Disease Control Department, said at a press conference on Saturday that disease management needs to be “faster, more robust, more rigorous, more extensive and ready.” Said there is.

According to health officials, the biggest outbreak this year was tentatively tracked by airport personnel who cleaned a Russian airliner in Nanjing, northwest of Shanghai, Jiangsu Province, on July 10.

Some travelers flew through Nanjing to Zhangjiajie, a popular tourist attraction southwest of Shanghai in Hunan Province, turning the city into a virus epidemic center. The disease was transported to Beijing and other cities in more than 10 states.

On Tuesday, the Zhangjiajie government announced that no one was allowed to leave the city, mimicking the regulations imposed on Wuhan and other cities where the first virus case was identified.

Flights to neighboring cities Nanjing and Yangzhou, where 94 incidents occurred, were suspended. Trains from these cities and 21 other cities to Beijing have been cancelled. Jiangsu Province has set up highway checkpoints to test drivers. The government urged people in Beijing and southern Guangzhou to stay in these areas if possible.

In Yangzhou, the children of the two tutoring centers were quarantined after their classmates tested positive, said college student Zhou Xiao Nishio. She said some parts of the city were blocked.

Zhou said he was short of eggs and some other food after shoppers cleaned up the supermarket in anticipation of the blockade. She said the government was delivering rice to her home.

“Vegetables have gone up in price. That’s nothing for me, but it’s very annoying for families who don’t have a good life and no income,” he said.

The 1,142 infections reported since mid-July are mostly associated with Nanjing and are modest compared to the tens of thousands of new daily infections in India and the United States. However, they shook Chinese leaders who have not recorded deaths since early February.

The Global Times, a newspaper published by the ruling People’s Daily, said the outbreak “brings a serious challenge to the victory of a country that has struggled to win an epidemic battle.”

China reports that 4,636 of the approximately 93,000 confirmed cases died.

So far, most people infected in Nanjing have been vaccinated and few have been seriously ill, said Yang Yi, head of the emergency department at the city’s Southeastern University hospital, in Shanghai. I told the institution The Paper.

She said it meant “vaccines are protective” — but There remains concern that Chinese vaccines are less protective than other vaccines...

Authorities accused Nanjing Airport managers and local authorities of failing to enforce safety regulations and detect infections for 10 days until July 20, after the virus had spread.

Police said a 64-year-old woman, who was believed to have carried the virus from Nanjing to Yangzhou, was arrested on Tuesday for interfering with the prevention of the disease.

According to news reports, the cleaning staff at Nanjing’s new international terminal was mixed with domestic colleagues when it should have been separated. Russian flights were diverted due to bad weather from Shanghai, where the airport is well equipped to handle foreign travelers.

Still, a city with a population of 9.3 million is the second largest city in eastern China after Shanghai and has more resources than many smaller cities.

Economist Chen said China needs to learn how to “permit the presence of the virus” in areas with high vaccination rates and enhanced medical care. He said that some areas have vaccinated at least 80% of adults.

“I don’t think they don’t know this. They should already be thinking about it,” Chen said.


Wu reported from Taipei, Taiwan. Bangkok Associated Press writer Fu Ting, Shanghai researcher Chen Si and Beijing Yu Bing contributed to this report.