The hardest choice! Clearing vs. virus coexistence, how China’s epidemic prevention idea spread to the world

The outbreak of the epidemic in China has forced Shenzhen, Dongguan and other places to impose closures, and 24 million people in Jilin Province have been banned, which is like a “closed province”. This wave of the epidemic has spread to 27 provinces and cities, and its scale is second only to the first outbreak of the epidemic in early 2020, which has once again tested the “zero” epidemic prevention policy of the Beijing authorities.

After the Lunar New Year, the virus spread rapidly. Since the beginning of March, the number of confirmed cases has soared from 100 to 10,000. Zhang Wenhong, head of the Shanghai New Coronary Pneumonia Epidemic Medical Treatment Expert Team, attributed the main reason for the rapid loss of control of the epidemic to the super-infectious Omicron subvariant BA.2, known as an “invisible variant”.

Should the clear continue? Zeng Guang, a Chinese epidemiologist, said recently that China should “coexist with the virus” as its ultimate goal. “BBC Chinese Network” reported that the Chinese government announced the introduction of rapid antigen testing for the first time, which will allow home screening, which may be a precursor to the loosening of restrictions. The fact that China is not cleared is not only related to domestic economic development, but will also have spillover effects on the world.

Clearing, supply chain disruptions may detonate a chain effect
The outbreak of the epidemic in a major industrial city in China may cause economic risks to spill over to the global supply chain and worsen inflation. Parash Jain, global head of shipping and port equity research at HSBC, explained that the pandemic has highlighted “how fragile supply chains can be for any error”. Therefore, any small-scale disruption in China may trigger a “chain effect” globally, and as long as it maintains a very strict epidemic prevention policy, the possibility of supply chain disruption at any time cannot be ruled out.

The blockade also tested local Taiwanese businessmen. Since Shenzhen announced the closure of the city on the 14th, dozens of Taiwanese businessmen were forced to suspend work. Related industries are mainly concentrated in PCB (printed circuit board), electronic components, iPhone assembly, etc. The enterprises include Hon Hai (Note: Partial operations will resume on March 17), Xinxing, Taihong, Jingchengke, Zhending, etc. Already struggling electronics supply chains are tightening even more.

Although most Taiwanese companies said that the shutdown has not had a major impact on operations at present, other factories will support and cooperate with shipments. However, how long this wave of closures will last is still a great potential risk. The outbreak in China could be bigger than reported, adding uncertainty to the situation, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb told CNBC. “The big question is, how many people are infected? How long will the lockdown last?” he said.

In addition, the impact of the closure of the city and the Russian-Ukrainian war may be intertwined. Johannes Schlingmeier, founder and CEO of Container xChange, a German container rental trading platform, said: “Even before the war, freight and container prices were at record highs, but now Russian ports have been cut off, Black Sea shipping has been paralyzed, and the Eurasian railway has been crippled. Transportation has also been hit.” China’s lockdown will further reduce global shipping capacity, leading to higher shipping prices, and the shockwaves will be felt around the world.

According to the Container Availability Index in Shanghai and Ningbo, the two largest Chinese ports have seen an increase in inbound traffic since the lockdown was announced and are expected to soon outpace outbound traffic. Container xChange’s statement pointed out that for the main routes where exports should be greater than imports, it shows that the closure of the city has inevitably brought about the impact of trade bottlenecks.

If it is not cleared, it may “release the virus to the world”
For the sake of global economic performance, there have been constant international calls for China to give up the reset. For example, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, warned in January that China’s zero-removal increasingly looks like a “burden”, which has an impact on the country’s and global economic recovery, and called on China to reassess its epidemic prevention. Strategy.

However, the voice against China’s “not clear” is not small. “Bloomberg” columnist James Mayger pointed out that the longer China sticks to zero, the greater the benefit to the world. This is because once China opens up, there will be a surge in deaths and confirmed cases, and the hit to the economy will be bigger than it is now. Yanzhong Huang, a senior researcher on global health issues at the Council on Foreign Relations, explained that China’s domestic vaccines are not as effective as other mRNA vaccines, and the current success of epidemic prevention means that Chinese society is still facing a “huge immunity gap.”

The article cites a model by researchers at Peking University that shows that if China reopens in a similar way to the United States, it will usher in a “super-large-scale epidemic” unprecedented in countries around the world, with more than 630,000 infections per day, even if the death toll can be maintained. In Japan and South Korea, it is still likely to surpass the official death totals for the past two years.

Leung Cheuk-wai, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, pointed out that if China releases its 1.4 billion people from the world, it will become a breeding ground for “new mutant viruses”. “It’s not just a Chinese problem, in fact, it’s a global problem,” he said.

Canada relaxes entry requirements, people who have been fully vaccinated will be exempted from submitting test certificates from April 1

Travelers who have been fully vaccinated against the new crown will no longer be required to provide a virus test report when entering Canada on April 1.

Canadian Health Minister Duclo pointed out that after the new rules take effect, entrants may still be randomly selected for virus testing, but they do not need to be isolated while waiting for the results. Further relaxation of the entry epidemic prevention measures.

In addition, many local governments in Canada have recently gradually relaxed public epidemic prevention restrictions. Ontario, which has the highest cumulative number of cases in the country, will lift its mandatory mask-wearing order in schools and most public places starting March 21. Many other provinces have also cancelled or are preparing to cancel the mask order, cancel the use of vaccination vouchers, relax or cancel the restrictions on the number of people in public places, etc. However, experts pointed out that driven by the Omicron subtype variant virus BA.2, the epidemic in Ontario still shows signs of rebound.

3/18 added 400,000 confirmed cases, South Korea “coexists with the epidemic” will still relax epidemic prevention next week

Under the attack of the highly infectious variant Omicron, the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in South Korea has been very serious. The latest data shows that on the 18th, the number of new diagnoses in South Korea exceeded 400,000. Despite this, the South Korean government has further relaxed epidemic prevention regulations, allowing people to return to normal daily life.

According to the latest statistics from the Korea Disease Control Agency (KDCA), South Korea reported 407,017 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the 18th, a sharp drop from the record high of 621,328 cases set on the 17th, of which 39 were overseas, Yonhap News Agency reported. The new cases brought the total number of confirmed cases to 8,657,609.

The number of critically ill patients, considered an indicator of the outbreak, fell by 110 to 1,049 from 1,159 on the 17th.

In recent weeks, the epidemic in South Korea has shown an exponential upward trend. In late January, the number of newly diagnosed cases in a single day reached 5 digits for the first time, and it climbed to 6 digits in mid-February.

Although the epidemic is at its peak, the South Korean government announced on the 18th that it will relax the limit on the number of private gatherings from next week, from the current limit of 6 to 8, but maintain a curfew in the catering industry at 11 pm every night.

South Korea’s Minister of Health and Welfare Kwon Deok-cheol said that considering the burden on the medical system and the difficulty in predicting when the peak of the epidemic will arrive, the authorities decided to relax social distancing measures cautiously.

The report pointed out that the South Korean government maintains the tone of loosening epidemic prevention regulations because small businesses and individual businesses have been severely hit by the epidemic.

According to data from KDCA, as of the 18th, 86.6% of the South Korean population had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 62.9% had received the third booster dose.

Omicron subvariant BA.2 Threat Growing, Australia Warns of New Wave of Infections

Australia’s authorities today warned that a slow COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) vaccine booster could spark a new wave of infections, threatened by the highly contagious Omicron variant subvariant BA.2.

Australia struggled with an initial wave of Omicron variants, a record number of confirmed cases and hospitalisations, but the situation has stabilized for the past six weeks. Most states have eased social distancing rules, lifted the requirement to wear masks in indoor venues, and businesses have asked employees to return to the office.

But New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard told the ABC today that with the Omicron variant subvariant BA.2 looking set to become mainstream, 4~ The daily number of new diagnoses could double in six weeks, “leading to more hospitalizations and the possibility of more grief-stricken deaths.”

As of noon on the 14th, Australia reported about 20,000 new diagnoses and four deaths from the disease, and two states reported later. Since the start of the pandemic, Australia has recorded more than 3.1 million cases and 5,590 deaths.

In New South Wales, Australia’s largest state, home to a third of Australia’s population, only 57 per cent of people over the age of 16 have received a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, trailing the national average of 65 per cent, according to official figures. As for the proportion of 2 doses of vaccine, about 95%.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in February preliminary data that the subvariant BA.2 appears to be more contagious than the original BA.1 strain.

Health experts and epidemiologists have asked authorities to consider reintroducing some restrictions, including mandatory mask wearing in supermarkets and other indoor venues.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison said this weekend that Australia’s political leaders wanted to enter a new page in coexistence with COVID-19 as if it were the common flu.

Epidemic spread in Guangdong, China! Dongguan surged 142 confirmed cases overnight, and Shenzhen closed the city urgently

The epidemic in China continues to heat up. Shenzhen, Guangdong Province announced the closure of the city on the 13th. There were 140 asymptomatic infections in Dongguan City. Today, the city is urgently followed up and public transportation is suspended. Although Shanghai did not announce the closure of the city, it called on residents to Don’t leave if necessary”, which shows the seriousness of the epidemic.

The Shenzhen Municipal Government of Guangdong Province announced on the evening of the 13th that the city will implement “closed management”, and public transportation will be suspended from the 14th to the 20th. Except for the market, pharmacy and medical institutions and other necessities of life, businesses can continue to operate as usual, and other non-essential industries should suspend operations or stay at home. In the office, the restaurant can only take orders for food delivery.

The Shenzhen government requires all industrial and residential areas to take blockade measures, not to leave Shenzhen unless necessary, and will perform three rounds of PCR testing on the city’s residents.

In addition to Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, Dongguan City added 2 local confirmed cases and 140 asymptomatic infections on the 13th. Following up with Shenzhen’s announcement of a city closure, the city’s bus and subway operations were suspended from the 14th to the 20th, and all communities implemented “enclosure management”. Factories and enterprises in industrial parks fully implement closed management, and carry out PCR testing throughout the city, and the follow-up situation will be dynamically adjusted according to the epidemic situation.

Shanghai issued an announcement on the 12th, requiring citizens not to leave Shanghai unless it is necessary. If they want to enter or leave Shanghai, they must hold a negative PCR test report within 48 hours.

According to the Shanghai Health and Health Commission’s report on the 13th, 6 new confirmed cases and 55 local asymptomatic infections were reported. According to statistics, as of the 12th of this month, Shanghai had a total of 40 confirmed cases and 512 local asymptomatic infections.