I recently noted that the Chinese government was backing away from its “Zero-Covid” insanity by renaming the coronavirus, taking a page from the World Health Organization.
As China’s Great Wall of Zero-Covid crumbles, more blocks are dropping. To begin with, one of its top medical bureaucrats is likening the risk of the Omicron variant to the flu.
Chinese officials continued to downplay the risks of Covid-19 as restrictions are eased, with a top medical adviser saying the fatality rate from the omicron variant of the virus is in line with influenza.
The death rate from omicron is around 0.1%, similar to the common flu, and the infection rarely reaches the lungs, Zhong Nanshan was quoted in an interview with state news agency Xinhua. Most people recover from the variant within seven to 10 days, he said.
Zhong’s comments follow the government’s latest line on the coronavirus, which talks down the disease’s dangers as China moves toward exiting its Covid Zero policy. The nation reported 10,514 local infections for Saturday, more than 20% lower than Friday. Doubts have been raised about the accuracy of case numbers because fewer people are being tested.
The risk assessment is reasonable and likely offered to avoid panicking a population who have been treated to restrictions warranted for infectious diseases rivaling the Black Death in outcomes.
Because of the over two years of isolation, Omicron and other variants are spreading quickly through the population.
Chinese hospitals scrambled to contain emerging outbreaks across the country Monday as authorities rolled back more than two years of coronavirus controls.
After widespread protests against the government’s strict “zero covid” policies, authorities last week announced a dramatic loosening of requirements for testing, digital health passes, and tracking and quarantines. In the days since, hospitals have reported a surge in patients while hundreds of medical staffers have contracted the virus.
Beijing municipal officials said at a briefing Monday that 22,000 patients visited fever clinics the day before, 16 times the daily average a week ago.
The Chinese are doing away with a lot of reporting inanity ahead of the waves of infection that are now hitting. The nation has jettisoned travel tracing.
China will drop a travel tracing requirement as part of an uncertain exit from its strict “zero-COVID” policies that have elicited widespread dissatisfaction.
At midnight on Monday, the smart phone app will cease to function, meaning residents’ travels will not be traced and recorded, potentially reducing the likelihood they will be forced into quarantine for visiting pandemic hot spots. China’s ruling Communist Party allows no independent parties to conduct verification and such apps have been used in past to suppress travel and free speech. It’s part of a package of apps that includes the health code, which has yet to be disabled.
The move follows the government’s snap announcement last week that it was ending many of the most draconian measures. That follows three years of lockdowns, travel restrictions and quarantines on those moving between provinces and cities, mandated testing, and requirements that a clean bill of health be shown to access public areas.
I want to note that I have said it was senseless to contain an uncontainable virus. That makes my analysis better over The New York Times, which bitter clung to praising Zero-Covid as recently as the last week of November.
After the initial outbreak of Covid in 2020, China’s economy bounced back quickly. While the rest of the world remained in lockdown, China’s hard-line approach to keeping the coronavirus in check worked well and its economy roared to life. In particular, exports were a bright spot as Chinese factories manufactured many of the products that the rest of the world bought online during isolation.
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