In China, the realization that the virus eradication policy is no longer viable with the rapid spread of the omicron variant is beginning. According to reporter Roland Smead, the Chinese population fears the measures more than the virus itself.
There was news this morning about the regret of two more deaths from Corona in China. That was a long time ago: It’s the first time in over a year that a person in China has died from the virus.
Entire neighborhoods in China have to be shut down regularly because infections have been detected. Residents are not allowed to leave their homes for 48 hours. “You have employers who say: Take it off your days off,” notes Chinese reporter Roland Smead. “And people who have their own businesses can also have serious problems.”
Not leaving your home in China really means not leaving your home. Not even to walk the dog. So people have to be creative:
The closures also mean supermarkets have to stock up on a lot of extra goods. “People are usually warned a day in advance that their neighborhood should be closed. Helpful, but then of course there will be hoarding.”
However, this is already a loosening of the policy. China was aiming for no infections at all last year. Cities with millions of residents have been completely closed if the Corona virus spreads anywhere. “But now with omikron it’s almost impossible to do,” says Smid.
This realization appears to have settled in China itself. The virus-free policy has been replaced by a “dynamic” virus-free policy. Increasingly, the entire city is no longer closed, but only the neighborhood where infections were discovered.
But where people in the Netherlands and many other countries are increasingly talking about “learning to live with Covid” because it “will not go away”, that has not yet happened in China. “It is not literally taken in the mouth,” says Semed. “But more and more people are hinting at it.”
‘Care burdened as a standard’
At the same time, strict measures appear necessary to ease the burden on health care. “The care here is really overburdened by default,” says Smid. “There is no GP system like in the Netherlands, so everyone must go to hospital immediately with every illness.”
And every Corona patient must be treated in hospital according to the Chinese strategy. “Whether you have symptoms or not,” says Smid, “So if there are five hundred corona infections somewhere, that means five hundred extra hospital beds.”
‘More afraid of measures than of the virus’
Another problem is the vaccination rate. “In people under 60, it’s almost the same as in Europe,” Smid explains. “But the vaccination rate among the elderly is much lower.”
Not helpful with a virus that’s particularly dangerous to the elderly, although it doesn’t seem to make much difference with the Chinese vaccines: “It doesn’t seem to work at all against the omikron variant.”
With a less disgusting variant, the question is how bad it can be. “I’ve already noticed a change in sentiment among the population,” says Smid. “They are more afraid of the measures than they are of the virus itself.”
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