China Should Avoid Excessive, “Flood-Like” COVID Measures -Former CDC Expert | World news
BEIJING (Reuters) – The benefits of China’s zero-tolerance approach to COVID-19 continue to outweigh the costs, but it is expected to reduce excessive measures that risk wearing people out, a former Chinese disease control official said on Tuesday.
Zeng Guang, former chief epidemiologist at the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said “flood-like” measures and policies that prove ineffective should be avoided, even though China has the financial resources to continue. to pursue the goal of zero local infections.
Since the end of July, China has brought clusters of infections under control mainly caused by the highly transmissible Delta variant of the new coronavirus.
This was achieved through rapid contact tracing and locking down areas considered high risk, even when only a handful of cases were detected. In cities where most infections have been found, several rounds of testing on local populations have been undertaken and travel restrictions imposed.
The measures required significant human resources and disrupted the tourism, service and logistics sectors, prompting analysts to downgrade China’s economic growth forecast for the quarter ending in September.
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“It’s getting harder for us to have zero infections with the Delta variant, and the cost (to achieve that) has increased,” Zeng said during an online presentation.
“But we still have to continue to (aim for) zero infections, because the dividends of doing so still exist.”
Zeng was part of a leading team from the Chinese National Health Commission when the virus began to spread from the central city of Wuhan to other parts of China last year.
Noting that China was the only major economy to grow last year, Zeng said that “we have the financial resources” to support the zero tolerance strategy.
“If we want to, we can harness (the equivalent) of a tenth of our GDP growth to deal with Delta,” he added.
(Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Catherine Evans)
Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.