Chinese president pursues zero COVID strategy

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday ordered to continue the zero COVID policy and curb the coronavirus outbreak “as soon as possible”, state television reported.

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China has been facing its worst epidemic resurgence since the first wave of 2020 for the past few days, with tens of millions of people confined across the country.

Several confinements have already been decreed, in particular in the province of Jilin (northeast), where a large part of the cases have been identified, and in the technological metropolis of Shenzhen (south), populated by 17.5 million inhabitants.

The Ministry of Health reported 2,432 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, spread across almost all provinces.

If these figures are very low compared to many foreign countries, they are high for China, where the authorities are adopting a zero COVID strategy, which aims to limit the occurrence of new cases as much as possible.

“We must always put people and their lives first, stick […] to the policy of zero COVID, and to stop the spread of the epidemic as quickly as possible”, said the president, according to remarks reported by the public channel CCTV.

The spike comes as cases spiral out of control in southern Hong Kong, where hospitals are overflowing with patients and locals are robbing supermarkets in panic, fearing lockdown.

China, where the virus was initially detected at the end of 2019 in Wuhan (center), quickly stemmed the epidemic from spring 2020 by adopting very strict containment measures, sometimes affecting entire cities.

In recent weeks, several Chinese experts have questioned the viability of such a strategy.

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