The streets of Beijing are as empty as grocery store shelves. And this despite the fact that after mass protests last week, the Chinese government has lifted most of the pandemic restrictions, officially lowering the number of cases. And the reality seems to be completely different.
Beijing has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths, with a population of 21 million. Local reports say the fast-spreading Omicron variant is spreading through homes and offices, delivery services are reporting outages due to infected couriers, no one is taking out the trash, and pharmacies are closing. There is a long line in front of
The number of patients seeking out clinics that specialize in treating fevers has also increased, with 22,000 seeking services last weekend, a 16-fold increase from the previous week, according to Bloomberg. Their employees are being asked by management to come to work even if they are sick, according to the weekly report. economist.
At the same time, it is difficult to estimate how many Chinese people are actually infected with the coronavirus. The government has spoken of a decline, reporting only 2,249 new cases on Tuesday. But it also added that it would not include asymptomatic patients in its statistics. It may also include people with symptoms that do not require
Public opinion poll data (currently ongoing on WeChat) – More than 58% of the 1,700 people surveyed say they have had COVID in the past two weeks and are residents of Beijing. pic.twitter.com/2s8OKYbwEy
— Mark Dreyer (@DreyerChina) December 14, 2022
Chinese Pictures of positive tests at home and descriptions of symptoms people are experiencing are also circulating on social media. An informal poll on social media found that 58% of the capital’s 1,700 residents said she COVID positive. Searches for keywords related to the infection have increased on popular search engine Baidu, and a Chinese university in Anhui Province was directly linked to an increase in cases last year. Since early December, Beijing residents are searching for the word “heat” 823% more often than before. Searches increased by 679% nationwide, according to Bloomberg.
Experts say the pandemic wave in China peaks only in January. However, the consequences can be more severe than in other countries. Countries use their own. vaccinationwere less effective than those in the West and did not start immunizing people over 60 for a long time. Therefore, severe course of disease and death can be prevented.
Sudden end of restrictions
Bloomberg analysts therefore believe that up to 700,000 Chinese may die from the disease. Hong Kong experts have come up with an even bleaker outlook – they say 1 million people could die from coronavirus in China. News of victims after restrictions are lifted is already slowly emerging starting. One of the first hers is two former journalists from China’s state media.
The Chinese government adopted a zero-tolerance policy against the coronavirus shortly after the 2020 outbreak of a devastating disease in the city of Wuhan, completely shutting down the city of 11 million people, leading to the ensuing global pandemic. The country had strict measures in place until early December.
The World Health Organization’s Mike Ryan noted that recent protests and efforts by the Chinese to return to normal life without restrictive bans have not increased the number of cases. did. “Covid has previously spread intensively in the country because control measures alone did not stop the disease,” the agency quoted him as saying. Reuters“We believe the Chinese authorities have strategically determined that easing measures is the best option,” he added.
The abrupt end of the measures announced on December 7th may indicate this without the government telling citizens how they can continue to protect themselves. For example, when Singapore took similar steps a year before her, the unwinding was gradual and took a month.
the government abdicated its responsibility
Meanwhile, Beijing continues to promote vaccination to protect itself from coronavirus. Last week, authorities approved four new types of formulations for her. Two of them he does not need a needle, one is used in the form of a nasal spray, the other is inhaled. The vaccine’s efficacy should reach 80% in those who have received two doses and 55% in those who have not been vaccinated, US newspaper The New York Times quotes a Chinese study.
At the same time, the government has agreed with pharmaceutical company Pfizer to supply the drug Paxlovid, which is used to treat patients who do not require intubation. At the same time, Beijing has rejected Western vaccines from the start, claiming they are unproven and dangerous.
Experts say the Chinese government has thus shifted responsibility to individuals, previously calling it the “collectivist practice of the Chinese people” as the cause of its success, but now the new slogan is read differently. . own health. ”
Video: Protests Against Harsh Measures Intensify, People Call For President To Resign (28/11/2022)
Protests grow over China’s zero-tolerance policy against Covid-19. | | Video: Reuters