December 20th, almost two weeks since thenChina's sudden and unexpected abandonment of its strict "zero-covid" policy., the country has officially registered just over 3,000 cases of COVID-19. The actual number of cases that day, the National Health Commission (CNS) estimated at an internal meeting, was closer to 37 million.
According to internal meeting notes that were later leaked, the commission estimated that in the first 20 days of December,There have been about 250 million cases of COVID in China— the incredible speed of spread in a population with low immunity that was shielded from COVID for three years by policies that kept China isolated from a world already living with the virus.
December - China's first month after a zero COVID outbreak - sawa completely overburdened hospital system, as well as the wave of deaths among elderly Chinese that went unrecorded, visible only inlong lines in front of the crematoriumall over the country. INPekingand Shanghai, some families had to wait up to 10 days to get a place in the crematorium.
If China had more than two years to prepare for the lifting of COVID-restrictions, the end of COVID-zero came so suddenly and abruptly thathospitals and medical professionals were stunned.On the night of November 30, the first clear sign of a change in policy appeared when the Deputy Prime Minister and the "COVID Tsar"Sun Chunlan met with NHC officialsand declared that Omicron was no longer a threat due to its “reduced pathogenicity”. However, authorities in several Chinese cities, including Beijing, were still scrambling to build more quarantine facilities that day, projects that were suddenly halted.
Doctors in Beijing saidoh hinduthat hospitals haven't even had time to figure out how to handle the influx of COVID patients and separate them from those seeking other treatment. Some hastily set up makeshift fever clinics to ease the burden on emergency departments. Clinics faced long queues as the city's pharmacies ran out of drugs just days after the policy was eased. They simply didn't have time to stock up.
The authorities are on December 1Wuhan released a list of 42 fever clinics, but some were soon closed because the employees themselves became infected. Cross-infection in hospitals in Beijing and other cities spread rapidly, causing other wards to be closed for disinfection.
Tension in intensive care beds was the biggest concern. In November, China had 12 million people over the age of 80 who had not yet received the three doses of the Chinese vaccine needed to avoid large-scale hospitalizations and deaths, and 80 million over the age of 60. which is from 20203.6 intensive care beds for every 1,00,000 people, with most beds concentrated in larger cities.
In September alone, China's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hadcalled on the government to implement an additional vaccination campaign, describing it as a prerequisite for a safe exit strategy. That warning was not heeded.
Indeed, China's vaccination campaign was hampered from the start by the zero-COVID model's focus on mass testing and contact quarantine, which consumed the lion's share of medical resources. Contrary to popular perception, the problem was not the Chinese vaccines, which in Hong Kong proved highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death after three doses. The problem was the vaccination strategy.
The vaccination campaign was initially aimed at the working-age population aged 18-59, rather than the elderly. If the idea was to protect the workforce, the unintended consequence was a widespread impression that the government was not convinced of the vaccine's safety. And with no sign of an end to COVID-19, the rational choice for many seniors, who saw little chance of contracting the virus in a country with closed borders and rigorous testing, was to delay vaccination.
The sudden turnaround in November, without planning or preparation, suggested only one thing: there was never an exit strategy from a model that had worked well for China but had become a victim of its own success.
O fim do zero-COVID
Almost three years,Chinese model without COVIDhe isolated the country and its population from a virus that swept the world and claimed millions of lives. During 2020 and 2021, China was largely a COVID-free bubble. Schools in China remained open, factories busily supplied the world, and domestic tourism exploded. China's foreign trade reached record levels in 2021.
In March 2022.Shanghai has given a warning signthe growing difficulty of maintaining zero levels of COVID in the face of new highly transmissible variants, even if less lethal, mainly for those who have been vaccinated. Shanghai's COVID wave, the largest in China since the pandemic began, has sparked debate among Chinese health experts. Some in Shanghai are advocating zero displacement with COVID, and the city initially avoided quarantine and focused only on the elderly. Reports at the time suggested Beijing was angered by the softer approach and intervened directly, imposing a strict two-month quarantine on the city. Tens of thousands of Shanghai residents were taken into central quarantine, while the separation of COVID-positive children from their parents sparked protests.
The Shanghai shutdown revealed the first cracks in China's response to COVID-19, but Beijing's message at the time was unequivocal - the zero-Covid approach on which the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party had staked so much was not in question.
Chinese leaders were aware that no country in the world had achieved the transition to life with COVID without great cost. These costs were used to justify the continuation of the zero-covid approach. The issue of staying with him has also become intensely political, seen as an important achievement for the Party during President Xi Jinping's second term, due to end in October.Party Congress once every five years.
Beijing's message to all local governments was that there would be no respite from COVID-0, especially until the Congress, to ensure a grand celebration of Xi's decade in power and a smooth transition to the start of his third term. .
Communist Party officialPeople's Daily, preparing for Congress, published three editorials on consecutive days, asking for "patience with current policies" and warning that "we must adhere to zero level of COVID." He criticized those who advocated "lying down" and living with the virus.
WhenXi opened the Congress on the 10th., advocated zero-COVID as the right choice for China that showed the government "puts people's lives first." For months, partisan media have criticized the West – especially the US – for its lax approach to COVID and millions of deaths. This emphasis led to its own narrative trap – a departure from politics would be difficult for the Party to explain after three years of criticizing countries that did so.
The problem for the leadership was that public tolerance for a policy that many initially supported was rapidly waning. As restrictions tightened to control new variants, the widespread expectation was that Congress's conclusion would herald a loosening and that China would finally catch up with the world. However, in 2022, they face more and moreportable variants, China introduced more blockades than in the previous two years. Economic costs were rising. In July 2022, youth unemployment rose sharply to a record 19.9%.
In an apparent nod to these public frustrations, the government announced 20 measures to ease restrictions on November 11 following the conclusion of the all-important Congress.
For local authorities, the new measures have caused confusion; they requested a shortened quarantine period and secondary contacts should not be followed. However, for all the emphasis on relaxation, the first of these measures called for "unwavering adherence to the zero dynamics of COVID" and the elimination of infections as quickly as possible. Local authorities, however, continued to block at will. With expectations of a post-Congressional zero-clearance of COVID now debunked, public frustration continued to grow.
The spark that lit the fire
On November 24, those frustrations turned to anger. That night there was news aboutfire in a residential area in Urumqi, in western Xinjiang, which killed at least 10 people. During the night, videos of fire engines trying to put out the fire by spraying from the compound's door went viral. At that distance, as a distressed onlooker noted on video, the water barely touched the raging fire, leaving those inside, including children, to burn to death.
For millions of people who were similarly confined to their apartments, the Urumqi tragedy struck a nerve. On the weekend of November 26, Shanghai residents gathered in the city's Urumqi street for a spontaneous commemoration of those killed in the fire. The monument turned into a protest, calling for an end to the quarantine.
At the suggestion of Shanghai,residents in cities across China began to gather in similar fashionto pay tribute, an unprecedented move that, for the first time in decades, saw civil society protests in direct opposition to Beijing's policies.
More than 500 people gathered in the center of Beijing. "No more blockages, no more tests!" there was singing. The strongest voices came from young people. A student at a protest in Beijing said that three years of COVID-related policies have "stolen our youth". The protests spread to more than 50 university campuses. At Tsinghua University, Xi's alma mater,the students sang, "We need democracy, rule of law and freedom of speech!"
"We haven't seen scenes like this since 1989," said a veteran Chinese journalist.oh hindu, referring to the Tiananmen Square protests that year.
People wait in a long line to be tested for the COVID-19 virus at an open testing site in Beijing. photo credit: AFP
At Nanjing University of Communications in the East, students started a "blank paper" protest that spread across the country. Holding white sheets of paper, they gave them their voice as they pointed out the limitations they faced in speaking.
In Nanjing, a university official with a megaphone warned protesters that "one day they will pay for what they have done" and reminded them that the COVID measures were "state policy," according to the video. Without hesitation, one student replied, "The state will also have to pay for its actions."
the Beijing dilemma
The Communist Party faced a dilemma. As the protests grew, so did the cases across the country. At the end of November, China recorded almost 40,000 cases per day, the most since the beginning of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, local officials have sent two messages to Beijing: that the relaxed measures are not working to contain the highly transmissible virus and that a strict ban would decimate an already battered economy.
By the end of November, zero levels of COVID had passed the point of no return with cases rising. As noted by Dr. Mike Ryan of the WHO, the increase in China actually led to the end of restrictions, not the other way around.
There were signs in Beijing that the test model was close to collapse. Key to the zero-COVID model was the pooled sampling system that triggered mass testing. The idea was that, if the pooled sample were positive, the participants in the pool would later be tested individually. This allowed rapid, large-scale testing, but only succeeded when the majority of pooled samples were negative. By early December, all samples collected in Beijing were returning positive tests, putting enormous pressure on the testing and monitoring regime. The numbers were so high that even contact tracing failed.
Returning China to "zero cases" at this point would require an even stricter nationwide lockdown than that in Shanghai. This possibility was not ruled out - by the beginning of December, cities from Beijing to Guangzhou were busily building new improvised quarantine centers. What probably changed Beijing's calculus were the protests, which posed a risk to the party but also provided an opportunity and political space for it to deviate from its once non-negotiable stance of a zero-sum fight against COVID.
The first sign of a decline came four days later, on November 30, when Sun, the deputy prime minister, met with the NHC and stressed for the first time that the current variants were mild, a stark contrast to consistent messaging. highlighting COVID as a threat to life. Then, on Dec. 7, came the final zero-COVID nail in the coffin with 10 sweeping measures that dismantled key elements of the policy, from ending quarantines and disabling the "travel map" app they had used, for three years, to track everyone's location.
The end, when it came, stirred a range of emotions in China: great relief for many after being locked up and sent into central quarantine, optimism about economic recovery - but also anxiety as they faced a completely new situation with almost no preparation.
Also read |President Xi Jinping warns of challenges in China's 'new phase' of COVID-19
The three-year policy that governed all aspects of Chinese life was overthrown. The tests were also stopped. The NHC therefore no longer had an accurate measure of the spread, and the official daily figures soon became meaningless.
Allowing the virus to spread across the country and achieve immunity there as quickly as possible seems to be the government's thinking now, with the hope that it will return to normal as cases decline in early 2023. The cost of this approach, with a large unvaccinated population, is an exceptional burden on the health care system. Hospitals, medical workers and the elderly have had to deal with a flood of cases as China went from a zero-covid policy to what can only be described as a zero-covid policy almost overnight.
China is trying to reduce the risk of COVID-19 during peak travel times(Video) Lockdown protests erupt throughout China over "zero-covid" policy
Chinese state media says current COVID infection is "relatively mild for the vast majority of people"
Beds are running out in hospitals in Beijing as COVID-19 brings more and more patients
China warns of measures against 'unacceptable' travel restrictions
Depth/India/corona virus/Mark Zero
Is China easing COVID restrictions? ›
After three years of strict COVID restrictions, China is dramatically loosening up on rules and opening its borders. Starting in January, the government will scrap quarantine requirements for international travelers. It is the latest move rolling back the government's so-called zero COVID policy.What are the quarantine rules for China? ›
All China-bound travelers will need to take nucleic acid test or Antigen Rapid Test (ART, including ART home testing kit) for COVID-19 within 48 hours before boarding, and can only travel to China when your test result is negative.What are the Covid restrictions in China? ›
COVID-19 PCR test or Antigen Rapid Test (ART) are required within 48 hours before boarding China-bound flights. Passengers are required to travel to China with a negative test result. If you received a positive test result, you should only travel to China when you tested negative against COVID-19.Is China no longer require Covid test? ›
A spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry said only that, beginning on Saturday, people going to China “can” take an antigen test to “replace” the previously mandated P.C.R. test within 48 hours before boarding their flight.Is there no more quarantine in China? ›
Travellers to Mainland China are also no longer subject to quarantine on entry since 8 January 2023.Can Chinese citizens travel to USA? ›
I'M A CHINESE CITIZEN, DO I REQUIRE A B1/B2 TO VISIT THE UNITED STATES? Yes, you will need to apply for a US B1/B2 visa.Can you enter Japan right now? ›
Effective as of midnight April 29, 2023 (Japan time), all travelers arriving in Japan will no longer need to present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test certificate.Are China 10-year visa suspended? ›
Yes. As of March 15, 2023, the Chinese government lifted its earlier suspension of 10-year visas for entry. If your 10-year visa has remaining validity (i.e., your planned travel period is prior to the visa's expiration date), you may once again use it for entry into China.Do I need a visa for China? ›
Foreign citizens must obtain a Visa for China(Mainland Only) before entry into China, with the exception of visa-free entry based on relevant agreements or regulations. Please check the validity of your visa before traveling to China.Can Chinese citizens travel freely? ›
Chinese nationals may visit a number of countries without a visa. In most cases, visa exemption is limited by length of stay. For some sovereign states, the maximum length of time a Chinese citizen may remain in the country visa-free is 7 days; for others, it is 3 months.
Can you get a tourist visa to China? ›
The tourism visa requires your passport to be valid for at least 6 months and it must have at least two blank pages. You must also have an invitation letter from a china travel agency or an individual or round-trip tickets and a hotel booking.Can you leave the usa without a covid test? ›
Testing – ALL Travelers
Consider getting tested with a viral test as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than 3 days) before travel. If you already had COVID-19 within the past 90 days, see specific testing recommendations.
Effective January 8, 2023, there is no longer a requirement of quarantine for international arrivals entering the PRC.
What do you need for entering in China. In most places, you will need to complete a 7-day isolation period in a room assigned to you by the government, followed by a week in a hotel of your choice.How much quarantine cost in China? ›
Roughly between RMB 200 or 400 per day per guest (including three meals).Do US citizens need visa for China? ›
Do US citizens need a visa for china? Yes, all US citizens need a visa for China. The most popular is the China 10-year Tourist Visa which can be used for Multiple Entry. You can get a 10-Year Chinese Visa online.How much is the fee for US visa? ›
These increases were published in the Federal Register on March 28, 2023 and will be effective on May 30, 2023. The fee for visitor visas for business or tourism (B1/B2s and BCCs), and other non-petition based NIVs such as student and exchange visitor visas, will increase from $160 to $185.How much is a US visa from China? ›
Visa Types and Application Fee Amounts
The application fee for the most common nonimmigrant visa types is US$160. This includes tourist, business, student, and exchange visas. Most petition-based visas, such as work and religious visas are US$190. K visas cost US$265 and the fee amount for E visas is US$205.
Entry & Exit:
You must have a valid passport and an onward/return ticket for tourist/business "visa free" stays of up to 90 days. Your passport must be valid for the entire time you are staying in Japan. You cannot work on a 90-day "visa free" entry.
The best time to visit Japan is between March and May and between September and November as it's both warm and dry between these periods. However, the joys of springtime and the iconic blooming of the cherry blossoms in Japan are no secret, which means you'll be sharing the space with plenty of other travellers.
Do US citizens need a visa for Korea? ›
Do United States Citizens Need a Visa to Visit South Korea? No, US nationals do not need a visa to visit South Korea.Is overstay a crime in China? ›
Overstay violates the laws of China and will be punished. You may apply for an extension of the “duration of stay” of your visa at a local public security authority before it expires, but without an assumption that the application will be automatically approved. Overstay violates the laws of China and will be punished.What happens if you overstay your visa for 20 years? ›
Visa overstays will have their existing visa automatically revoked or cancelled. Visa overstays are generally unable to obtain a new visa except in their country of nationality. Visa overstays may not be able to Adjust Status in the U.S. even if otherwise eligible.How much is the fine for overstaying in China? ›
The daily fine is CNY 500, and it can be increased to CNY 10,000 but cannot exceed that amount. If your overstay is longer than a month, the penalties are heavier. You will be detained for a period of 5 to 15 days and then deported back to your home country.Where do Americans need visas? ›
Americans can travel to most European, Caribbean, and Central and South American countries without a visa, along with many other popular tourism destinations. Countries that U.S. passport holders need visas to enter include Russia, India, China, Vietnam, Turkey, and more, and others require e-visas to visit.Do Americans need a visa for Hong Kong? ›
Short Term Visitors to Hong Kong
U.S. Citizens visiting Hong Kong for not more than three months/90 days are not required to obtain visas.
Spring (March-May) and autumn (September and October) are the best times to visit China, thanks to the more comfortable climate. August is a popular time of year to visit China for families; prepare for hot, sticky weather and crowded viewpoints.Does China allow dual citizenship? ›
The People's Republic of China does not recognize dual nationality for Any Chinese national. Any person born in China whose parents are both Chinese nationals and one of whose parents is a Chinese national shall have Chinese nationality.Where can a US citizen travel without a visa? ›
Let's Look At The US Passport Visa-Free Countries
Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.
In 1943, the Exclusion Act was finally swept away, brought down by the pressures of wartime labor shortages and popular sentiment. Under new legislation, Chinese immigrants were finally made eligible for citizenship, and new quotas were set for immigration.
Do US citizens need a visa for Vietnam? ›
Entry Requirements: You must have a valid passport and a visa (or pre-approval for a visa on arrival) to enter Vietnam. Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay, and you must have at least one blank visa page (not including the endorsement page).How long does it take to get a Chinese visa for a US citizen? ›
Processing time of the China tourist 10-year Visa for US citizens. On average, the processing time for a 10-year Chinese tourist visa for US citizens is around four business days for regular processing, or two to three business days for expedited processing.Is PCR test required to travel to China? ›
Pre-departure test：COVID-19 PCR test or Antigen Rapid Test (ART) is required within 48 hours before boarding. Passengers are required to travel to China with a negative test result. If you received a positive test result, you should only travel to China when you are tested negative against COVID-19.What are the consequences of China reopening? ›
China's reopening is expected to slow the disinflationary trajectory of the global economy. Inflation peaked in most economies in the middle or second half of 2022. While remaining elevated, global inflation has been trending downward. The relief largely reflects fading energy prices and fewer supply chain disruptions.Did China ease curbs in major shift from COVID zero policy? ›
China moved definitively away from its long-held Covid Zero approach Wednesday, easing a range of restrictions that it has persisted with way after the rest of the world moved on to living with the virus.Did China approve the first COVID-19 drug? ›
China approves country's first COVID-19 antibody drug, developed by Tsinghua professor and team. A Chinese research team has developed an "antibody cocktail therapy" that can fight against SARS-CoV-2.Can international students go back to China? ›
To study in China, every foreign student must submit an application for a student visa (X visa). Since visa regulations differ from country to country, you need to contact the Chinese embassy in your home country to inquire about the most recent visa requirements and costs.What is China's going out policy? ›
Go Out policy (Chinese: 走出去战略; pinyin: Zǒuchūqù Zhànlüè) is the People's Republic of China's current strategy to encourage its enterprises to invest overseas. Most nations favour attracting inward foreign investment, and support outward foreign investment only passively.Which countries benefit from China reopening? ›
China's reopening is most positive for export-oriented economies, such as Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, and tourism-oriented countries such as Thailand. More domestically oriented economies, such as Indonesia and the Philippines, will see less of a direct benefit.Is China's economy reopening? ›
Growth in Asia and the Pacific is forecast to accelerate to 4.6 percent this year from 3.8 percent last year. The main development has been the reopening of China, where surging consumption is boosting growth across the region despite weaker demand from the rest of the world.
What year did the US shut down for Covid? ›
March 15, 2020
States begin to implement shutdowns in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In the United States, the first coronavirus‐related activity restrictions were issued on March 12, 2020, when a community within New Rochelle, New York, was declared to be a “containment area.” A traditional quarantine order would require individuals presumed to be exposed to stay at home.What is the economy of China? ›
It is the only middle-income economy and the only newly industrialized economy in the top 30. It is often ranked among the world's most innovative countries, leading several measures of global patent filings. China has the second-largest financial assets in the world, valued at $17.9 trillion as of 2021.What drug is China using for COVID-19? ›
AZUVDINE. The drug, developed by Chinese drugmaker Genuine Biotech, was approved by China's health regulator to be used to treat COVID-19 in July, becoming the first domestically developed oral antiviral medicine for the infection.When was the first known case of Covid in the US? ›
On January 19, 2020, a 35-year-old man presented to an urgent care clinic in Snohomish County, Washington, with a 4-day history of cough and subjective fever.What drug was recently approved for COVID? ›
What treatments are available for COVID-19? The FDA has approved the antiviral drug Veklury (remdesivir) for adults and certain pediatric patients with COVID-19. This intravenous (IV) therapy is approved for use in both hospitalized and non-hospitalized settings.How many Chinese students are in the US? ›
|Characteristic||Number of international students|
Given that more than 80 percent of all Chinese students return to China after their overseas education, according to China's Ministry of Education, getting into a top-ranked college overseas now has one more added layer of significance back home.”How many international students go to China every year? ›
According to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), over 440,000 foreigners studied in China in 2016 – marking a 35 percent increase from 2012. China attracts more international students than any other Asian power and ranks third globally, behind the United States and the United Kingdom.