China’s zero-COVID policy has been one of the most stringent in the world in combating the pandemic.
However, a recent spike in infections has forced it to rethink its approach to the pandemic.
The Omicron strain has been substantially responsible for the recent increase in daily cases, which has been extensively dispersed across the country.
Tens of millions of people in China, including the whole province of Jilin in the north and the tech-hub city of Shenzhen in the south, have been ordered to stay indoors.
After battling the new wave for nearly a month, Shanghai, China’s largest city, has become the latest city to join the list.
Across the country, makeshift hospitals and quarantine centres have been established.
Infection rates, however, remain modest when compared to the United States and Europe.
China’s tight zero-COVID stance is proving increasingly difficult to maintain as more illnesses are discovered around the country.
Some requirements have been modified as China’s healthcare system becomes increasingly stressed: those with minor symptoms no longer need to go to designated hospitals, but they must still be isolated at centralised facilities.
It has reported a little over 4,600 deaths since the end of 2019. (according to Our World in Data). More than 970,000 people have died in the United States, and just over 160,000 in the United Kingdom.
In mainland China, there are roughly three deaths per million people, compared to 2,922 in the United States and 2,402 in the United Kingdom.
Throughout the pandemic, the number of reported infections in China has been extremely low.
Almost 88 per cent of the population has now had all of their vaccinations. Despite this, China is nearly alone in implementing rigorous zero-COVID rules.
As vaccination rates increased, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore reduced their tight rules in the second half of 2021. Cases increased in those three nations, owing to the spread of the Delta and Omicron coronavirus types, but they have remained low in contrast to countries across Europe and the United States.