A sudden Chinese departure from “Zero Covid”.  Experts: A nightmare experience

government in Beijing Throughout the nearly three years of the pandemic, he maintained severe restrictions that stifled economic activity and sparked social discontent, but until recently prevented large waves of infection. Most of the country’s 1.4 billion people have had no previous contact with the coronavirus and have not suffered from Covid-19. In October, at the historic 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China, the country’s leader Xi Jinping signaled his intention to maintain a policy of “dynamic filtering” of disease outbreaks. China They put people’s lives above everything else They are waging an “all-out people’s war against the virus.”

However, Beijing withdrew from the strategy

However, in late November and early December, after protests in many cities, Beijing began abruptly withdrawing from the “no covid” policy and dismantling the ubiquitous coronavirus control system. The requirement to show negative results in public has been abandoned.

However, this should not be seen as a concession by the authorities or Signs of weakness of Shi’s position – says Dr. Marcin Przychodnyak from the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) in an interview with PAP. It is rather an attempt to get out of an impossible situation by +escape forward+, and is in fact a rather terrifying social experiment that has its source in a dire economic situation. It is noteworthy that the authorities do not say anything about abandoning the + zero Covid + policy, but rather about its successful completion and transition to a new stage – says Dr. Przychodniak.

Renmin Rebao, the official magazine of the Chinese Communist Party, recently announced that China’s epidemic prevention strategy has been successful. Authorities confirm that the currently dominant variant of Omicron is lighter than the original strain of coronavirus. Government experts even suggest that the disease caused by it should be referred to as the “cold coronavirus”.

Omicron fails to stop

Dr.. Michel Bogoz From the Center for Oriental Studies (OSW) estimated in an interview with PAP that the main reason for the sudden exit from the “zero covid” policy was the fact that Omikron could not be stopped. It is highly contagious and often goes undetected by screening tests. As a result, the disease began to spread, and at the same time the negative effects of the + zero Covid + strategy began to severely affect the economy – The expert points out. In this case, they were faced with a dilemma: flood the economy, but maintain an ineffective policy, or relax, realizing that it would come at a social cost. Between two bad scenarios, they chose the one that has a chance of economic recovery in the second or third quarter of next year.– confirms Dr. Bogoz.

Chinese authorities significantly reduced The number of tests performedTherefore, official statistics do not reflect the true number of infections. The criteria for calculating deaths have also been narrowed – the official tally will include only patients who died directly as a result of pneumonia or respiratory failure. Meanwhile, the media reported overcrowded hospitals and queues of hearers in front of the crematoriums.

More than 1.5 million people could die

Analysts warn that the wave of infections could lead to the death of hundreds of thousands and even more than two million people. Experts from the University of Hong Kong (HKU) calculated this without any countermeasures from the authorities Mortality scale It could be close to a million. In the worst-case scenario of The Economist’s model, about 1.5 million people would die.

However, all of these estimates are based on incomplete data and may have a large margin of error. “You don’t know what to expect because we don’t have criteria. There has never been a case where such a large population with almost no immunity has been exposed to Omicron. We don’t know what will happen,” Dr. Bogosh asserts. Another thing is the Corona virus itself, so how will it continue to mutate? Will it evolve towards milder forms or vice versa? With such a large population experiencing a rapid wave of cases, you can expect new cases to emerge variants OSW Analyst indicates.

Experts warn of mutations

Experts warn that the wave of infections in China may lead to new mutations of the Corona virus. As evidenced by the Delta and Omicron variants, new strains emerge in areas with low vaccination coverage and after a sharp rise in infection – Kim Woo-dzu, an infectious disease specialist at Seoul University Hospital Korea, was recently evaluated, referring to variants identified in India and South Africa. In his opinion, successive viral mutations are usually less virulent than previous mutations, but the emergence of a different type of anxiety cannot be ruled out.

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