| 29 May 2024, Wednesday |

China won’t give up on its zero-tolerance COVID policy soon – experts

According to some experts, China will not abandon its zero-tolerance policy toward local COVID-19 cases anytime soon because the policy has allowed it to quickly quell local outbreaks while the virus continues to spread outside its borders.

To prevent local cases from spreading into larger outbreaks, China has developed and refined its COVID-fighting arsenal, which includes mass testing, targeted lockdowns, and travel restrictions, even when these anti-COVID measures occasionally disrupted local economies.

“The policy (in China) will last a long time,” Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory disease expert who assisted in the development of China’s COVID strategy in early 2020, told state media.

“How long it will last is determined by the global virus-control situation.”

During a major outbreak in July and August, China recorded over 1,200 local symptomatic infections. Between Oct. 17 and Nov. 1, 538 local cases were reported in the latest outbreak, which was mostly in northern China.

Despite the lower caseload, the geographic spread of the infections has hampered China’s leisure and tourism sectors.

Since Oct. 23, travel agencies have been prohibited from organizing tourism between specific provinces, affecting trips to nearly one-third of the mainland’s 31 province-level regions, including Beijing.

Many infected cities have also closed down indoor entertainment and cultural venues. A slew of marathons, theatrical productions, and concerts have been postponed or canceled.

Most international visitors must also spend several weeks in quarantine in China.

In contrast, as they seek a more normal footing for their economies and societies, some Asia-Pacific countries are beginning to open selectively to fully vaccinated international visitors.

  • Reuters