China’s zero-covid strategy; what it is, how does it work, explained

The World’s first Covid-19 reported country, China has been taking a zero Covid strategy that is now among the last places heading to set “zero Covid”, placing millions under quarantine even as Beijing prepares to host next month’s Winter Olympics. 

There were reports from China, that the country has been taking stricter restrictions to make the zero Covid strategy register in the country, thus aiming to expand it for the rest of the countries in the world. Chinese authorities believe that, so far the strategy has helped them to make a positive move to some extent in the country and as per reports, this policy has been able to contain more than 30 Covid-19 outbreaks, some of which have been caused by the more contagious Delta variant.

Zero-Covid Strategy

The strategy which China has taken so far to combat Covid-19  is called the “zero-Covid strategy”,  where they used a formula called “dynamic zero” which focuses on strict lockdowns and immediate mass testing. With this strategy, unlike softer lockdowns elsewhere, people in China can be banned from leaving their buildings or forced to remain inside hotel rooms if they are considered high-risk contacts.

With the introduction of the Zero Covid strategy, Unlike softer lockdowns elsewhere, people in China can be banned from leaving their buildings or forced to remain inside hotel rooms if they are considered high-risk contacts. 

There are several in-depth cases of hardships caused by Chinese people with the introduction of the zero-covid strategy. The city of Xi’an in china was locked down in December, forcing its 13 million residents indoors after around 150 cases were detected. The similarly sized city of Zhengzhou tested every resident after just 11 cases and it was one of the high occurrences at the peak time. The curb was also for flights as usual. International flights are a fraction of pre-pandemic levels with arrivals undergoing strict weeks-long quarantine. Mandatory track-and-trace apps mean close contacts are usually detected and quarantined quickly.

How did the strategy work

At the start of the pandemic, over 100,000 cases have been logged in China and it was a fraction of the record one million cases logged by the US in a single day earlier this month. As per official reports, the death toll has stayed under 5,000. Although it is widely believed that no initial explosion was reported in Wuhan in early 2020, life has since returned to normal. 

Moreover, there is a cost for this zero Covid. With the constant lockdowns, inadequate food supplies, medical care, and business, the country, which was economically sound at an all-time recorded a heavy decline in its business sectors. The repeated factory and business closures were the factors that contributed to the country’s slowdown.

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However, there has been a nationalistic backlash against those who question “zero Covid.” Zhang Wenhong, a noted Chinese medical expert, opined in July that countries must “learn to coexist with the virus”, which prompted online attacks from trolls.