From Zero-Covid to Zero-Support: CCP leaves public to fend for themselves


Analysis by Fabio Weiser

China has abruptly lifted the harsh Covid-restrictions imposed on public since the advent of covid pandemic. Widespread protests across China against the zero-covid strategy of CCP has pushed Chinese government to drop the draconian restrictions to avoid any further discontentment among citizens against CCP especially Xi Jinping. However instead of going for gradual relaxation and handhold Chinese people to sail through the pandemic, CCP has left the people to fend for themselves.

On December 7th, CCP ditched its zero-covid policy and lifted all restrictions. In few days, the Chinese Covid tracking app was also scrapped. State-controlled Chinese media houses propagated the message that now only people are responsible for their health and not the government. The local Party committees instructed their residents not to report anything related to covid including symptoms to the authorities. This is to ensure that the official tally remains low and stable.

The ground reality is something different. Covid has been spreading like a wild fire in China. Informal surveys indicate that more than 40% of the residents in Beijing is now infected with covid. Until now CCP has been projecting COVID as something to be feared and dreaded. Suddenly the propaganda has changed to it is nothing more than a flu. It is not understood as to how CCP has expected Chinese citizens to change their opinion on COVID so fast. People are not robots to have their minds reprogrammed to new set of rules.

The sudden outburst of COVID in major cities in China have created panic everywhere. People with not so severe symptoms are also rushing to hospitals. Beijing’s emergency-call operators have been swamped by over 30,000 calls a day, about six times the average. Queues have appeared outside fever clinics in several cities. Fever medicines and anti-viral drug believed to be effective against COVID are in short supply. Hospitals are under more stress as doctors and nurses catch the virus. There are reports that some medical workers who have tested positive and are asymptomatic have also been asked to come in anyway, risking more transmission within hospitals.

In the last three years, CCP has focused only on containment and harsh lockdown and didn’t bother to work on increasing vaccination. Further, CCP only relied on local jabs for vaccination and was not ready to accept any other internationally recognised and approved vaccines for their people. The local jabs were found to be less effective than the western ones, rendering even the vaccinated population prone to serious illness. These elements clearly reveal the callous and ill-prepared covid strategy of CCP.

With no inclination/steps from Chinese government on public-health measures, Chinese citizens look upon overseas Chinese for help and guidance. Overseas Chinese students who have experience with covid are sharing advice on WeChat telling people what symptoms to expect and how long they might last.

As per Ben Cowling, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Hong Kong, the peak in Beijing is expected to be around late January, coinciding with the lunar year. Though the spread is presently concentrated on cities, it is just a matter of time before it reaches to rural areas. Data from Ctrip, a booking platform, show that the volume of searches for flights has increased by 160% since the government loosened restrictions. Searches for train tickets on Baidu, a search engine, increased by nearly 600% during that time. Many rural areas are woefully unprepared to handle a surge in cases. With vulnerable population in high numbers and with low vaccine rate, it is very likely that the death toll in China is going to remain high. China is yet to officially report any COVID deaths since Dec. 7. Though actual figures would never be revealed by CCP, projections by many firms including U.S based Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) put these figures to more than 500,000.

Reports coming from various cities in China on unreported deaths point to the reality of these numbers. Video of 30 stationary hearses stopped in the driveway of Dongjiao funeral home, a COVID-designated crematorium in Beijing went viral in Weibo. Many of the parked vehicles were found to have corpses wrapped in covers. Three chimneys in the crematorium were found to be operational throughout the day. A few metres away from the crematorium, in a funeral parlour, 20 yellow body bags containing corpses on the floor were reported by residents there. These scenes point to the sudden surge in deaths in China.

It is high time CCP realizes their mistake and take prompt public health measures which would help their citizens to tide over this health crisis as every other country in the world has done for their citizens. Continued inaction by CCP and turning blind eye to the sufferings of the Chinese might again push people to take to streets to get what is due to them.

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