China zero covid policy is expensive and random

While Shanghai fears a new confinement, the budget of tests exceeds in certain cities that of other health expenses.


Do Chinese authorities are preparing to reconfine Shanghai? Ten days after the reopening of their city on the 1 June, the 25 million Shanghais are again worried. After the discovery of six new cases of COVID-19 Friday June 10-including three in a hair salon-, the municipality decided to test the population this weekend in, it seems, twelve of the sixteen districts of the town. About 20 million people are affected and half of them will have to be confined during this operation.

It was following a similar campaign of systematic screening carried out at the end of March that the city imposed, from 1 er April, a containment announced for a period of four days, But which finally spread over more than two months. However, on March 24, the Chinese press claimed that “Shanghai had no plan to confine the city”. Result: today, the reassuring remarks of the authorities are no longer audible. Friday, June 10, Zhao Dandan, number two of the Shanghai health authorities, “again urged residents to avoid rallies”. His announcement had an immediate effect: the Shanghaians rushed into supermarkets to make provisions.

The 1 er June, the reopening of the city had not been total. About 190,000 people remained confined to their homes and 4.5 million were in “areas under control”. Despite these precautions, thirty-two cases officially appeared in ten days. A number which, in the land of zero covid, is enough to put the authorities under alert and to let fear a return to the confinement of the population. Because, for Chinese leaders, there is no question of giving up this radical strategy. On the move in Sichuan, the president, Xi Jinping, reaffirmed on Friday that it had to continue it in a “unshakable” way.

“Indirect contacts”

Beijing also experiences a precarious respite. After a month of semi-confident, the capital reopened on May 30 on “non-essential shops”, then, on June 6, cafes and restaurants. Students are expected to go back to school on Monday, June 13, after having a negative test. But there too, it was enough of a few positive cases, Wednesday June 8, in the nightclubs of the trendy district of Sanlitun, so that this district which houses many companies and embassies announces the closure of bars and makes thousands of tests pass to a population already tested every sixty-two hours. More than 4,400 contacts were sent to quarantine, and the bars, again closed. One consequence among others: due to students qualified as “indirect contact cases”, the French high school in Beijing will not reopen its doors as planned on June 13.

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/Media reports.