While this phrase was not in Cai’s original report and government censors quickly removed the misleading quote, the overwhelming response to the news on social media raises the question of whether China is really going to zero in on this as a long-term strategy. – Serious about advancing Kovid. (Let’s call it “Long Zero-Covid”). And if so, how feasible is it – and what it means for China and the world.
As Chinese government officials have repeatedly said, a dynamic zero-Covid strategy does not seek to have absolute zero infections. Instead, it focuses on cutting the local transmission chain and bringing the situation under control in the shortest possible period after a local outbreak or outbreak is detected.
With the emergence and global spread of new subtypes that may escape the immunity provided by vaccination and prior infections, however, any victory against the virus under zero-Covid is short-lived.
That China faces the threat of being overtaken by the virus justifies the application of the strategy to the end of the pandemic (which is not in sight anytime soon).
State media and top government epidemiologists still highlight the danger of the variant, and the worst-case scenario – characterized by mass dying and the collapse of hospital systems – still defies the official narrative on the potential consequences of pivoting away from zero. Still working. -Covid.
Similarly, China has moved to regularize epidemic control through regular PCR testing and rigorous health checks in residential communities and public places. The ability to contain COVID-19 infections in Shanghai and Beijing gives confidence among top decision-makers that the Chinese state is still resilient and resourceful enough to keep the virus at bay, no matter how costly and difficult it may be. Are.
Other developments also facilitate longer zero-Covid searches. Public support for the policy appears to remain strong in smaller towns and rural areas (where access to alternative information is significantly limited), despite growing social discontent in large cities such as Shanghai and Beijing.
Many Chinese are opposed to zero-Covid, not only because of its promise of health benefits, but also because of the non-health consequences of the infection (for example, being subject to strict quarantine and isolation along with stigma).
Over time, the marginal cost of implementing a strategy with easy access to testing facilities may become more tolerable, a steep drop in the cost of conducting large-scale testing, high-tech tools in monitoring people’s movements, and a heavy burden on social forces. Dependency and Internalization Zero-Covid Rule in Chinese Society.
The socio-political, economic and foreign policy impact of the long zero-Covid, however, may be much deeper and more permanent than the government thinks.
And with deep misunderstandings and mistrust between China and the West, the fall of the bamboo curtain will no longer be a distant reality.