Despite the widespread lockdowns, infections are still rising in Shanghai, China’s largest city. Millions of people have been detained for more than two weeks, yet 26,330 infected people were registered on Tuesday, according to Chinese authorities.
Large portions of those infected do not show symptoms.
Since the first coronavirus outbreak in Hubei Province in early 2020, China has had a very strict infection regime.
It was an example of a hard hitting strategy When nearly 34,000 visitors were held to be crowned at Disneyland In Shanghai this fall. The reason was the positive coronation captured by a woman who visited the big city that same weekend.
Among the most stringent countries
The strict zero infection strategy contributed to very little infection and few corona-related deaths in China in 2020 and 2021. Then the omicron variant came to Hong Kong.
– Now the situation is quite different, with local outbreaks in more than 30 counties, Assistant Director of Health Espen Rostrop Nakstad tells Dagbladet.
It shows that although infections are on the rise, levels are still much lower than what we saw in Europe.
Very few countries have taken strict infection control measures like China after vaccinating their population. To us in Europe, the measures in Hong Kong and Shanghai seem disproportionately strict, although in this way the authorities will likely be able to keep infections low for much longer.
It may be due to one of the details
There have recently been several disturbing reports of Shanghai’s lockdown.
The strict rules mean, among other things, that most people must order food and water at home, and then wait for them to be delivered. This has overburdened delivery services and grocery store locations — and even the distribution of general supplies.
This resulted in more people reporting less food, and this weekend was too She shared videos on social media of people breaking the curfew and breaking into grocery stores.
In addition to China, countries such as Australia and New Zealand have also been able to reduce infections in large parts of the epidemic. Unlike China, other countries are gradually reopening, after the population has been fully vaccinated.
Nakstad believes this is down to an important detail.
I think the reason China has not yet done so is that only half of the population over the age of 80 has been fully vaccinated with a booster dose, and that has caused major problems for hospitals in Hong Kong, says Nakstad.
Action must be taken
China has developed many corona vaccines based on traditional vector technology. There are many indications that the vaccines that were used in China do not have as good an effect against the omicron variant as the mRNA vaccines that have been widely used in Europe.
What authorities are doing to boost the population’s immunity could be crucial to how long the lockdown lasts.
Nakstad believes a tough strategy could be more proportionate, if the Chinese authorities take action.
The question is whether the most vulnerable populations in the meantime would be better protected by vaccines, and whether in this way they would want to vaccinate the population, before the measures are removed. It’s hard to tell what else why one would choose the strategy we see in Shanghai now, says Nakstad.
It’s hard to maintain strategy
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is monitoring the coronavirus situation in other countries with data from the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, among others.
Director Frode Forland shares the view that in many ways China has a successful strike strategy in the first phase of the epidemic, with few infections and few deaths.
— but they now face a bigger challenge than other countries that have a more contagious viral variant, and have little natural immunity in the population, Forland tells Dagbladet.
The director believes that the coronavirus is likely to remain around, and that it will be “difficult for China to stick to this strategy for a long time to come.”
It can also be debated whether strict rules are proportionate.
When the consequences of disease are less, the cost of societal measures becomes disproportionately large. These are probably the same types of omicron circulating in China that we had in Norway, and large parts of the world more recently.
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