President Xi finally admits the flaws of China’s disastrous zero-Covid policy
China’s President Xi Jinping has finally acknowledged the flaws of his draconian zero-Covid policy, which failed to contain the virus and sparked the country’s first widespread mass protests in decades.
The Prime Minister acknowledged “unprecedented difficulties and challenges” in his New Year’s Eve speech to the nation and said it was “only natural” that his tough lockdown measures met with resistance.
After the major unrest, Xi dropped zero-Covid measures on December 7, but his new strategy of living with the virus has sent infections skyrocketing, with infections currently peaking in Beijing.
In the first 20 days of December, the government’s top health agency estimated that a staggering 248 million people — equivalent to 18 percent of the population — contracted the virus.
An elderly patient is wheeled down an emergency room corridor at a hospital in Beijing, where Covid infections are at their peak
Hospitals have been inundated with patients while crematoriums have grappled with the death toll, although Loyalist officials claimed only one death had been recorded today.
In his address, Xi broke his silence on his sudden political turning point last month, which freed millions from virtual house arrest, mandatory testing, closed borders and quarantine camps.
He said China is now in a new phase of Covid control that is “optimized” to protect lives and the economy.
He said: “Ever since Covid-19 hit, we’ve put people first and put life first all along.
“With extraordinary efforts, we have overcome unprecedented difficulties and challenges, and it has not been an easy journey for anyone.
The prime minister acknowledged “unprecedented difficulties and challenges” in his New Year’s Eve speech to the nation
A medical worker in a protective suit registers information for a patient at the entrance to the fever clinic of Wuhan Central Hospital
Police guard an area to avoid crowds during Wuhan New Year’s Eve celebrations
“We have now entered a new phase of the Covid response in which difficult challenges remain.”
He added: “What matters is that we reach consensus through communication and consultation.
“Let’s make an extra effort to get through, because perseverance and solidarity mean victory.”
The speech was a big change from the celebratory tone in October when he secured a third term in power at his party convention.
Now the country could see as many as 25,000 deaths a day from the virus in January, research firm Airfinity Ltd said.
About 9,000 people in China are likely to die each day, while cumulative deaths since December 1 are likely to have reached 100,000, with infections at 18.6 million, they said.
Airfinity, which is based in the UK, expects China’s cases to peak on January 13 with 3.7 million daily infections.
Elderly patients rest in a cordoned-off area to be given intravenous infusions at a Beijing hospital
The abrupt end to testing and other measures came as hospitals were inundated with feverish, wheezing Covid-19 patients
But Chinese officials claim only 5,250 deaths have been recorded throughout the pandemic, compared with more than a million in the US and 11,000 in neighboring Hong Kong, out of a population of 7.4 million.
China has said it only counts patient deaths caused by pneumonia and respiratory failure as related to Covid.
The relatively low number of deaths is also at odds with the increasing demand reported by funeral homes in several cities.
Among those who gathered to go sledding or skating on a frozen lake in the capital’s Shichahai Lake Park, some were optimistic about the restrictions being lifted.
“After this lockdown ends, we no longer need to scan the health code and check the travel code,” said one of those in the park, Yang, who gave only one name.
‘So we’re free now.’
Also at the lake was Zhong, a 22-year-old student who said he stayed home for two or three weeks after becoming infected.
The country could see as many as 25,000 deaths a day from the virus in January, research firm Airfinity Ltd said
Chinese officials claim only 5,250 deaths have been recorded throughout the pandemic
Hospitals were inundated with patients while crematoria struggled with the death tide
“Now I can go out and it’s a good time for the Lunar New Year holiday,” he added. “I want to walk around Beijing, see and feel the festive spirit.”
Monday was a bank holiday but traffic in the capital has picked up again in recent days as people flock to the outdoor facilities. In some smaller, cramped places, e.g. B. restaurants, however, business is still sluggish.
The owner of a Beijing seafood restaurant said diners had not returned to full strength.
“I expect this situation will continue until the Lunar New Year,” said Chen, giving only his last name. “I expect business to be more normal after the holidays.”
In downtown Wuhan, where the pandemic began three years ago, people are no longer so worried, a man surnamed Wu told Reuters.
“Work production, life and entertainment are returning to normal levels,” added Wu, a tutor at a private training center.
China’s biggest holiday, the Lunar New Year, begins Jan. 21 this year, when the rail network is expected to carry 5.5 million passengers, state broadcaster CCTV said.
As holiday travel expectations mount, authorities at Tibet’s spectacular Potala Palace said it will open to visitors from January 3 after being closed last August due to an outbreak.
According to media reports, some hotels in the southern resort of Sanya are fully booked for the Lunar New Year celebrations.
In recent days, state media have tried to reassure the public that the outbreak is under control and nearing its peak.
Citing researchers, Caixin News Agency said on Sunday that infections in the cities of Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Chongqing are nearing an end.
But infections will peak in the second half of January in urban regions of Sichuan, Shaanxi, Gansu and Qinghai, they added.
More than 80 percent of people living in southwestern Sichuan have been infected, the provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11591757/President-Xi-finally-admits-mistakes-Chinas-disastrous-Zero-Covid-policy.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 President Xi finally admits the flaws of China’s disastrous zero-Covid policy