Hangover of zero-Covid norms hampers China’s bid to ease restrictions

New Delhi, Nov 23: Has China got caught between the devil and deep blue sea? After continuous justification for following a strict zero Covid approach, a sizable population in China now wants to continue with the draconian norms especially after three people in Beijing died of Covid. After the easing of the zero Covid approach amid fear of a slowdown, the number of cases has started to rise.

Even as the world opened up removing Covid restrictions, China continued with its draconian unabashedly.

And now even as Beijing indicated that the best way forward is to coexist with the virus by easing the Covid rules, resistance from panic-stricken people is rising.

Despite repeated warnings from multiple multilateral fora on the catastrophic impact of the zero Covid approach, Beijing adhered to the zero Covid approach with mass screening, stringent lockdowns and isolation. In turn, a large number of the people in the country are now convinced that the draconian ways are the only sensible way to curb the spread of the disease, which otherwise could cause deaths.

‘While there has been discontent among people as China stuck to a strict zero Covid policy, there is also a sizeable population which has got used to the restrictions and is now convinced that it is the only approach to save lives,’ a person with business interests in China told India Narrative.

‘People have lost their jobs, livelihoods but have believed that the policy was being followed for the general welfare of the people, what do you do now? How can you suddenly tell your people that what we did was meaningless and uncalled for?’ the person added.

The South China Morning Post said in a report that every step China now takes to coexist with the virus, such as ending mandatory PCR tests, will fly in the face of its own words. ‘The logic is simple: if the state has been insisting that the measures are necessary to protect peoples’ health, then how can the measures be abruptly recalled?’ it questioned.

SCMP added that the Chinese government rarely highlighted the important difference between the virus from the early Wuhan days and the later variants. ‘If Chinese were told six months ago that humans can coexist with Covid-19 and that the country has to search for a way out, the current relaxations would have gone smoother,’ the report noted.

(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)





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