As the highly contagious Omicron variant has spread to China, the country’s vaccines aren’t strong enough to protect against the strain; it puts the Beijing Olympics, set to start in February, at risk.
The government has the tightest strategy in the world, with the most recent one enforced on 13 million citizens in the city of Xi’an after 200 cases were reported.
In the past, health officials have said that Covid booster shots protect against Omicron and are the best way to fight off the virus and get through the pandemic.
China’s response to the pandemic is to try to get rid of all the cases rather than learn how to live with the virus. The strategy is not new; any case is found, whole buildings or areas will get locked off. Those who are infected are put under a long lock.
The borders have been sealed to stop any new unwanted increase of cases. There is also a lot of testing and tracking down people.
This is how China says it has kept Covid cases low: a “zero covid” strategy.
There are still a few months to go before the Winter Olympics, so that government officials will have a hard time dealing with the spread of the Omicron variant.
Tulio de Oliveira, the head of the Center for Epidemic Response and Innovation in South Africa, says that the zero covid policy won’t work against Omicron.
Tulio tweeted: “China will have great difficulty with Omicron and zero covid policy. They may need to join the rest of the world with mitigation strategies.”
“China should not punish its public health officials or citizens or foreigns because a more transmissible variant…”, he added.
China authorities launch campaigns to get people to shield their doors. People who live in the city can’t leave without permission papers, and mass testing will hunt for any infected ones.
China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection warned that any official would be facing punishment for failing to prevent control of their region outbreak.