94 days away from the Winter Olympics, China tracks down Covid cases



After the detection at Disneyland Shanghai of a single case of Covid-19 on Sunday, October 31, the Chinese authorities took drastic measures. In full night fireworks above the castle of the park, nearly 34,000 visitors and staff were tested on the spot and could not leave until after midnight.

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All tests have been negative, but tourists will have to stay at home for 48 hours and undergo further tests. Disneyland remained closed Tuesday, November 2. With 94 days before the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, Chinese health authorities do not want to take any risks.

China continues its “zero Covid” policy

The first country affected by the coronavirus two years ago, in the fall of 2019, China is also the country which largely contained the epidemic from the spring of 2020 after the adoption of very restrictive measures, including the virtual closure of borders. The appeal at the time of Chinese leader Xi Jinping to “Fight the virus” by all means has never wavered and the health authorities are continuing their “zero Covid” policy despite very severe constraints for the population.

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The reappearance since the end of October of a number for the moment limited – 300 cases of Covid-19 in 14 provinces and the capital Beijing – has triggered a relentless protocol of containment and large-scale testing campaign.

The situation is “serious and complex”

In terms of health, the situation is “Serious and complex”, judged Saturday, October 30 Mi Feng, spokesman for the ministry of health, underlining the speed of circulation of the virus. Despite these paltry figures compared to those recorded in other parts of the world, authorities wonder how to handle such a scenario during Olympic events. If one or more cases of Covid-19 were detected during the events, (as was the case at the Tokyo Olympics) the closure of venues or the stopping of competitions seem difficult to envisage.

It seems that the proportion of severe cases is also higher than during previous epidemic rebounds, admitted an official of the ministry of health. According to her, 40% of patients are over 60 years old. Which raises the question of whether the national vaccination campaign and whether Chinese vaccines are effective.

Officially, the latest official figures ensure that a little over a billion doses of vaccine have been administered to a total population of 1.4 billion inhabitants. In China, four vaccines, all Chinese, are currently authorized: one from the Sinovac laboratory, two from Sinopharm and one from CanSino Biologics. The BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine could receive a green light in a few months thanks to an agreement with a local partner.

There is some distrust of vaccines

But Beijing does not disclose the number of people fully vaccinated in each city, except for Beijing (70%) and Shanghai (50%). In the provinces of Guangdong and Shandong this rate is only 20%. Several Chinese testimonies assure that in some provinces (Guangxi and Jiangxi), the elderly have not yet been vaccinated. In addition, following several pharmaceutical scandals in recent years, there is some mistrust of these Chinese vaccines and many are doing everything to avoid vaccination.

→ READ. In Beijing, cinemas closed again

Thus, the famous virologist Zhong Nanshan, one of the figures in the fight against Covid, can emphasize that the current spread of the virus can be under control. “Under a month”, he also warned that the virus will not be able to “Not be eradicated in the short term”. The question is, how long will China maintain its “zero Covid” policy and isolate itself from the world?

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