China announced on Monday the highest number of daily coronavirus cases in the last two yearss, a new challenge for its authorities, who are trying to tackle outbreaks in more than a dozen cities.
(Read: China develops an aspirable antibody against covid-19 and its variants)
This Monday they registered more than 500 covid-19 infections across mainland China, the highest daily toll of cases since the initial outbreak, detected in Wuhan, was controlled in mid-2020.
(You may be interested in: Covid: Hong Kong turns on the alarms due to the overflowing outbreak of the virus)
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong (south of China) hospitals are overwhelmed and the population is looting supermarketsfearing that the authorities will impose confinement measures in the face of the growing number of cases.
China’s borders remain virtually closed and policymakers continue to apply a zero-tolerance approach to the virus. China responds to epidemic outbreaks with local lockdowns, mass testing, and population control through tracking apps.
However, a senior Chinese scientist declared last week that the country should try to live with the virus and that the authorities could abandon their “Covid-zero” strategy in “the near future”. But National People’s Congress spokesman Zhang Yesui dismissed that idea on Friday, ahead of the legislature’s annual meetings.
“The pathway is correct and the results are good,” Zhang said. “Any prevention and control measure will certainly have a cost, but when it comes to protecting people’s lives and health, those costs are worth it,” she said.
The exodus of citizens in the face of anticovid policies
We are leaving, we will vacate the house again when possible […] All our close friends are leaving.
Mathilde and her family have spent the last eight years of their lives in Hong Kong, but with the recent spread of coronavirus in the city, they have all joined the exodus of foreign workers seeking to leave.
For Mathilde, it was the risk of separation from her three Hong Kong-born children that finally convinced her to leave, after two years of harsh restrictions due to the city’s “zero covid” policy. “Most of all we want to get our children out,” she said.
Hong Kong followed China’s “zero covid” strategy and kept the virus under control, until the contagious omicron variant broke out earlier this year.. Other places that followed a similar policy, such as Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, are now learning to live with the virus, while Hong Kong insists on the strategy, despite registering tens of thousands of daily infections.
China ordered the city to contain the infectious outbreak at all costs. Its 7.4 million inhabitants will have to take a covid test and the authorities are building a network of isolation camps to house those infected. As a result, outflows have multiplied, with a net flow of 71,000 people in February, including 63,000 residents, the highest level since the start of the pandemic.
INTERNATIONAL WRITING*With information from EFE and AFP
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