COVID-19: WHO Urges China To Rethink Strategy - THE ENCOUNTER NEWS


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

COVID-19: WHO Urges China To Rethink Strategy

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said China should rethink its strict COVID-19 strategy aimed at halting the spread of the virus.

While many countries are now relying on vaccination and improved treatments, China has stuck to a policy of lockdowns and other restrictions.

The WHO said that with more transmissible Omicron variants spreading, this approach is not “sustainable.”

China requires cities to enter strict lockdowns even if just a handful of cases are reported – one of the toughest policies in the world.


With thousands of new cases reported daily during the latest wave, more than 60 million people have been living under some kind of lockdown.

Mass testing has been rolled out in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, and roads have been blocked to prevent people from traveling.

Businesses and schools have been closed until local authorities announce there are no infections in a city’s active population.

Although the strategy is now becoming increasingly difficult to sustain, most elements remain in place:

Travel to and from China is strictly limited, and there are restrictions on internal movement.

Travellers from abroad with permission to enter China are screened and sent to government-designated hotels for a mandatory quarantine of at least two weeks, followed by a further period of monitoring.

Regular community testing programmes are carried out and if infections are detected, residents can be evicted and sent to quarantine facilities (along with targeted area lockdowns).

All non-essential businesses have been shut, apart from food shops and some other essential suppliers.

Schools are closed and public transport is suspended, with almost all vehicle movement banned.

However, some regulations have been relaxed so that people with mild symptoms no longer need to attend designated hospitals, and quarantine-period rules have been reduced.

China was seen as an example of a country handling the virus relatively successfully at the start of the pandemic.

But the WHO points out that the current Omicron variant spreading across China transmits more easily than other variants.

“The virus is evolving, changing its behaviour,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu of the WHO. “With that, changing your measures will be very important.”

Although Omicron is more contagious, it comes with a slightly lower risk of hospitalization compared with the Delta variant, dominant since early 2021.

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