China’s Leaders Double Down on “zero-Covid”

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Curated by James Angelos

It’s almost impossible to eliminate the spread of Omicron. But China’s leaders continues to try, even as economic and social costs mount.

  • As much of the world is reopening and learning to live with Covid, large swaths of China remain in lockdown. Shanghai, a business hub of 26 million people, has been in standstill for five weeks.
  • At the root of the lockdowns is an issue we’ve highlighted here before—China’s “zero-Covid” strategy: A policy of eliminating even small outbreaks with draconian lockdowns.
  • While that strategy proved successful at preventing mass death early in the pandemic, it now leaves China at risk. China's population lacks immunity built up in Europe and other areas of the world.
  • And stopping the highly contagious Omicron appears to be all but impossible, even with the strictest lockdown. Yet, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, appears unwilling to change course.
  • Some 180 million people in China are in some form of lockdown. Evidence of the economic toll is mounting. In April, factory activity was the lowest since February of 2020, the height of the pandemic.
  • Even amid rising anger in Shanghai and beyond, Xi is unlikely to change a policy that has given China the lowest death toll of any large country. But the economic and social cost continues to rise.
Financial Times
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