Is China's zero COVID strategy failing?
- Shanghai reported a COVID outbreak after five days of "zero infections"
- China may re-open certain areas in Shanghai and Beijing
- WHO previously criticised China for its COVID strategies
China launched its "zero COVID strategy" to combat various coronavirus outbreaks in financial hubs like Shanghai and Beijing. While the plan seemed to work out for the Asian country for some time, it recently backfired.
After five days of no fresh cases outside quarantined areas of Shanghai, authorities announced that three COVID infections have been registered during regular testing.
Also Read: How China’s COVID lockdowns affect the world
The fully vaccinated individuals have been quarantined, however, the new cases triggered another wave of mass testing and stricter curbs-- moves that have not previously worked out in China's favour.
More than 200,000 people living in the area were subjected to a new round of COVID tests. All of them tested negative, authorities said, according to Reuters.
Weeks ago, state workers were seen wearing hazmat suits and going from building to building to test people for COVID-19, deliver supplies and seal entire blocks. But the virus continued to spread. "The situation is extremely grim", officials said, according to reports from Washington Post.
China's flagship zero COVID policy has faced criticism from the World Health Organization. It was labelled as "unsustainable" by WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
"When we talk about the zero-Covid strategy, we don't think that it's sustainable, considering the behaviour of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future. We have discussed this issue with Chinese experts and we indicated that the approach will not be sustainable", he said.
WHO said the biggest number of reported cases was in China, which saw a 94% increase, or more than 389,000 new cases. After weeks of a sometimes severe and chaotic lockdown, Chinese authorities say they will allow some supermarkets, malls and restaurants in its financial capital of Shanghai to reopen under limited conditions next week.