The head of the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that China’s COVID-19 zero-tolerance policy was unsustainable, given what was known about the disease, the government’s rare public comments on the virus being treated by the government.
“We do not think it is stable given the behavior of the virus,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gebreius told reporters.
Speaking after Tedros, WHO Director-General for Emergency Situations Mike Ryan said that the impact of the “zero-COVID” policy on human rights must be taken into account along with the impact on the country’s economy.
He noted that China has registered 15,000 deaths since the virus first appeared in Wuhan in late 2019, a relatively low number compared to 999,475 in the United States and more than 500,000 in India.
With that in mind, it is clear that one of the most populous countries in the world will want to take tough measures to curb coronavirus infection, Ryan said.
WHO guidelines have never recommended mass screening of asymptomatic individuals, as is currently the case in China, due to a lack of cost-effectiveness data.
Still a “critical period”. Chinese authorities
China’s zero-sum COVID-19 policy has been criticized by scientists to its own citizens, leading to a round of blockades for millions of people. According to the policy, the authorities block large areas of the population in response to any outbreak of coronavirus, to eliminate the spread of the virus, even if a small number of people test positive.
Shanghai, with a population of 25 million, endured the sixth week of the siege of the entire city.
Shanghai measures have been particularly severe, with residents allowed to leave the compound only for exceptional reasons, such as emergency medical care. Many are not even allowed to leave their front door to mingle with neighbors.
His quarantine policy has also been criticized for separating children from their parents and classifying them as asymptomatic.
Beijing has reported 59 new local COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, a disease control official said on Tuesday.
The city reported a total of 836 local COVID-19 cases as of 3pm local time on Tuesday, April 22, Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, told reporters.
The capital has not seen its daily occurrence increase by more than a few dozen since the last outbreak began on April 22. But he also found it difficult to reduce them significantly.
WATCH |: The last COVID-19 briefing from WTO officials on Tuesday. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1lJwKHaz_g:
The number of new COVID-19 cases in Shanghai has been declining for almost two weeks, but thousands remain, and restrictions are being tightened.
“We are still in a critical phase of epidemic prevention,” said Sun Xiaodong, deputy director of the Municipal Center for Disease Control.
Main economic impact
China has been hampered by the fact that its highly epidemic approach has allowed the population less immunity acquired through infection, as highly transmissible Omicron variants promote infections. In contrast to what is observed in most developed countries, the working age population had higher vaccination rates than the generally more vulnerable groups of the elderly.
The approach has a major impact on the world’s second largest economy, with significant negative impacts on global trade and supply chains.
China’s export growth slowed to its weakest level in almost two years, data showed on Monday. Unemployment was also close to the maximum of the last two years.
The American automaker Tesla has stopped most of its production at the Shanghai plant due to problems with the supply of parts, according to an internal Reuters report. Tesla had planned to bring production to pre-block levels by the end of last week until next week.
One of Tesla’s suppliers who is having trouble is Aptiv, the manufacturer of the wire harness, after detecting infections among its employees, sources said on Monday.
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