The Chinese government’s established “Zero-COVID” strategy to combat transmission of the Chinese coronavirus — which centers largely upon state-imposed lockdowns — must be adhered to “even more firmly” now that China is facing its worst outbreak of the disease in two years, China’s state-run Global Times argued in an op-ed published Wednesday.
“At a time like this, we should even more firmly adhere to the general strategy of targeting both imported cases and domestic epidemic rebound and the general policy of dynamic zero-COVID,” the newspaper posited.
The Chinese Communist Party’s “zero-COVID” policy is based upon a “zero tolerance” approach to the Chinese coronavirus, meaning seeking an end to confirmed cases of the disease rather than limiting the severity of infections. The state-sponsored stratagem has seen local governments across China impose lockdowns on their populations during epidemics of the disease at the behest of the ruling Communist Party’s leaders in Beijing. The policy has been in place since early 2020 when the central Chinese city of Wuhan entered a state-ordered lockdown that saw residents “sealed” inside their homes for weeks.
April 7, 2020, file photo: Workers in protective overalls walk past the Hankou railway station on the eve of its resuming outbound traffic in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province. (Ng Han Guan/AP Photo)
Wuhan is the capital of China’s Hubei province. Reuters in February 2020 reported on Hubei’s lockdown at the time, writing:
Officials and volunteers have sealed off buildings, erected barricades and stepped up surveillance to ensure compliance with the ban on movement, measures that are taking a toll on many in the community. …
The province, which is home to 60 million people, announced a “sealed management” policy a week ago that effectively prevents residents from leaving their homes, further isolating a population that has been living under a transport lockdown since late January.
A man wears a mask while walking in the street on January 22, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. (Photo by Getty Images)
Public health experts estimate the Chinese coronavirus originated in Wuhan sometime in the fall or winter of 2019. While the full history of the disease’s emergence remains unknown, Wuhan recorded the earliest known cases of the Chinese coronavirus in December 2019. China’s ruling Communist Party failed to order a lockdown of Wuhan before the city’s initial outbreak of the disease spread beyond the municipality to other parts of the country. China’s epidemic of the Chinese coronavirus soon spilled outside of the nation’s borders and caused an ongoing global pandemic of the disease starting on March 11, 2020.
The Chinese Communist Party has continued to observe and enforce its “zero-COVID” policy” — complete with stringent lockdowns — in recent days while battling its worst nationwide epidemic of the Chinese coronavirus since Wuhan’s explosive outbreak of the disease in early 2020.
The Global Times reported on one such lockdown on March 15 in China’s northeastern Jilin province. Communist Party authorities in charge of the province forbade all of its 24 million residents from traveling out of Jilin on March 14 and sealed off an unknown number of Jilin residential compounds from the outside world. The newspaper detailed the situation on Tuesday:
Jilin has asked people under home or centralized quarantine to take antigen tests by themselves every day in the first five days of their isolation besides the regular nucleic acid tests. Residents can also buy the antigen self-test kits online or from local pharmacies. Those with positive results will be transferred to fever clinics of designated medical institutions for further nucleic acid tests.
Shanghai’s local government has defied Beijing’s pro-lockdown policy for greater China by refusing to seal off any of its residential compounds in recent days. The Global Times relayed Shanghai’s stance on March 15:
Shanghai has not adopted any measures to lock down the city or cause a standstill of the city, but has made efforts to minimize the impact on citizens’ normal work and life in accordance with the requirements of coordinated epidemic prevention and control and the requirements of economic and social development, said Gu Honghui, director of the Shanghai epidemic prevention work group.
The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, which is the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee.