Follow the < strong>infections on the rise in China, exceeded the psychological threshold of a thousand cases per daywhen weeks ago there were barely dozens, without the quarantines completely eradicating the new and more contagious variants.
The wildest application of the zero covid policy has filled social networks with outrage over the recent events in Guangzhou >. The residents of 84 homes found their doors open when they returned from the regulatory quarantine in a hotel that they complied with after a positive was detected in their building. They had been torn down by officials for disinfection tasks and to look for close contacts who they thought were hiding. Asking for the keys to the owners seemed like a lot to them. a process more cumbersome than a few hammer blows and kicks.
Authorities have already apologized for the “simplistic and violent” behavior and promised compensation and punishment. The episode, rude and isolated, has irritated and surprised many. Also because such nonsense is expected from some overzealous wild official in some rural province but not in Guangzhou, the glittering and cosmopolitan capital of Cantonese. In Beijing, for example, tact prevails: the first citizen complaints were enough for the authorities to back down on the requirement of proof of vaccination at the entrance of public places.
Foci at two opposite points
The current pandemic in China, for the rest, slides towards a routine escalation of cases. They are ridiculous magnitudes in contrast to the Western ones, but they are enough to break down a government that is pursuing the expulsion of the virus. The foci are concentrated in two opposite points of the country. Almost a week of confinementor accumulate the four million inhabitants of Lanzhou, capital of the northwestern province of Gansu. In Beihai, a popular tourist destination on the east coast, thousands of visitors were trapped as authorities ordered an immediate lockdown. Twenty cases in Shanghai have been enough for massive tests to return to twelve of its 16 districts.
China is the only one among the large economies that remains faithful to a zero covid policy that includes lockdowns, tests and border closures. There is no doubt about the economic bill. The growth of the second quarter, which coincided with with the prolonged Shanghai lockdown, he stayed behind. at 0.4%. It is the lowest figure in two years and makes the annual target of 5.5% chimerical. A sudden acceleration would be essential in the second half of the year, which will not reach the end of the year. without retiring politics. The president, Xi Jinping, has repeated that the life and health of the population are priorities to a few tenths of GDP.
A tragedy of millions of deaths awaits China if it joins the carefree coexistence with the virus in much of the West. Low vaccination of the elderly and the poor hospital networkThe rural provinces leave little room for action but, although the defense of politics is monolithic in political and media discourse, some gestures hint at a gentle turnaround. Quarantine for those arriving in China was recently shortened from two or three weeks to just one and looseness is likely to increase after the Communist Party congress in October.
The Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post revealed This week Beijing has invited the presidents of Germany, France, Italy and Spain to a summit in the capital in November which, if it takes place, will end in Beijing. almost three years without face-to-face Chinese diplomacy. And China has already confirmed that it will organize in 2023 a major Asian sporting event that had been canceled this year. This presumed relaxation comes without the mortality of the covid approaching that of the common flu or the pandemic remitting in the rest of the world, the two conditions that China had underlined as essential to open the country.