Chinese study claims lifting ‘zero-Covid’ policy will unleash ‘tsunami of cases’

Amid criticisms over its zero-Covid policy that has hampered normal lives of citizens and shut down several factories, a new study has claimed that lifting the draconian policy would lead to a “tsunami of infections” and almost 1.6 million deaths.

The study by Shanghai’s Fudan University, which has been published in the Nature journal and peer-reviewed, said that such a strong measure against Covid is needed due to the low vaccination rate among the country’s elder population.

The research says that a decision by the Chinese authorities to lift such measures could see more than 112 million symptomatic cases of COVID-19, five million hospitalisations, and 1.55 million deaths, The Guardian reported.

“We find that the level of immunity induced by the March 2022 vaccination campaign would be insufficient to prevent an Omicron wave that would result in exceeding critical care capacity with a projected intensive care unit peak demand of 15.6 times the existing capacity,” the paper said.

However, the researchers said that authorities can prevent the health system from being overwhelmed if there is access to vaccines and antivirals and maintain “implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions”.

It suggested these factors could be more of a focus in future policies.

Watch | China covid-19 crisis: Authorities isolate entire buildings over few covid-19 cases

There have been reports of Chinese residents complaining against the zero-Covid policy. They have faced shortage of food, and medicines, as they have been completely barred from stepping outside.

Also read | China to exit zero-Covid strategy? Top scientist says it cannot ‘remain unchanged forever’

Several companies have even asked their employees to stay back on the campus premises in the wake of severe lockdown hampering their operations.

Also read | China’s economic data hints at cost of zero Covid strategy

But during a speech last week, President Xi Jinping reaffirmed the commitment, despite the challenge posed by the Omicron variant and warned to crackdown against those voicing against the zero-Covid policy.

(With inputs from agencies)

WATCH WION LIVE HERE