, China promotes vaccinations for those who are vulnerable as the "zero-COVID" exit becomes problematic -

China promotes vaccinations for those who are vulnerable as the “zero-COVID” exit becomes problematic

China rushed to immunize its most vulnerable citizens on Thursday in preparation for waves of COVID-19 infections, with some analysts anticipating a spike in the death toll following a relaxation of the rigorous safeguards that had successfully warded off the pandemic for three years.

The drive comes after the US promised to assist China in containing an increase in infections and the WHO expressed concerns that China’s 1.4 billion people were not sufficiently immunized.

Beijing started removing its strict “zero-COVID” measures last Wednesday, reducing testing procedures and easing quarantine rules that have hurt the economy and caused mental anguish in tens of millions of people.

President Xi Jinping’s “zero-COVID” policy was abandoned in the wake of unprecedentedly large-scale opposition. However, COVID-19 infections were on the rise in China long before the government decided to gradually relax its strict regulations, according to WHO emergency director Mike Ryan.

Ryan stated during a briefing in Geneva that “there is currently a narrative that China loosened the controls and all of a sudden the disease is out of control.”

“I think the control methods were ineffective at stopping the sickness because it was spreading rapidly. I think China came to the conclusion that was no longer the best course of action strategically.”


As China leaves the zero-COVID policy, there are more and more indications of turmoil, like huge lines outside fever clinics, shortages of medications, and panicky shopping across the nation.

In one video shared online on Wednesday, more than ten people were seen sitting on stools outside a hospital clinic in central Hubei province while they were hooked up to intravenous drips and dressed for the cold. The video’s location was confirmed by Reuters.

China has made great efforts to contain the virus over the past three years, but analysts warn that China may now pay a price for protecting a population lacking “herd immunity” and with poor vaccination rates among the elderly.

Resuming restrictions, testing, and tracking would mostly be useless in controlling epidemics as the authorities have allowed cases in Beijing and other places to proliferate “Eurasia Group analysts wrote in a note on Thursday.

“In the upcoming months, COVID might claim the lives of up to 1 million individuals.

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