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Opening in winter "best time": This is how China talks about its Corona turnaround

2023-01-11T04:50:38.507Z


Opening in winter "best time": This is how China talks about its Corona turnaround Created: 01/11/2023 05:38 By: Sven Hauberg China has done everything right with its Corona turnaround - say China's state media. Beijing's top epidemiologist even claims that winter is the best time to drop the measures. Munich/Beijing – Many Chinese are experiencing a whole new freedom these days: finally trave


Opening in winter "best time": This is how China talks about its Corona turnaround

Created: 01/11/2023 05:38

By: Sven Hauberg

China has done everything right with its Corona turnaround - say China's state media.

Beijing's top epidemiologist even claims that winter is the best time to drop the measures.

Munich/Beijing – Many Chinese are experiencing a whole new freedom these days: finally traveling again, seeing the world, meeting friends and relatives.

On January 8, around three years after the start of the corona pandemic, the country lifted the quarantine rules for people entering the country from abroad.

Now a negative PCR test is enough to return to China from abroad, the forced quarantine that lasted for days is history.

China's state media reports of long queues forming in front of the passport authorities, where people have new travel documents issued.

It is "harbinger of the great potential of Chinese tourists who will usher in a boom in the global tourism industry," claims the

Global Times

.

The fact that many countries are anything but enthusiastic about the idea of ​​being overrun by tourists from the Corona country China and have therefore issued the first entry restrictions - for free.

"Some foreign countries have rolled out red carpets to welcome the first returning Chinese tourists," the party-loyal newspaper said defiantly.

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China's corona opening: According to experts, winter is the "best time"

China's state media is currently doing a lot to reassure the people that it was a good idea to ditch the zero-Covid policy and make an unprecedented about-face.

At the beginning of December, China's government suddenly ended almost all corona measures, since then the Covid wave has been racing through the country, hundreds of millions of people are likely to have been infected since then.

There are no exact figures, but individual data highlight the full extent of the pandemic.

For example, the health commission of the 100-million-inhabitant province of Henan, southwest of Beijing, said on Monday that by January 6, 89 percent of the population there had been infected with the virus.

The death toll is also likely to be high.

According to the official count, only just under 5,300 people have died from the virus since the beginning of the pandemic, but long queues in front of crematoria across the country speak a different language.

The many deaths can no longer be kept secret.

The Chinese Academy of Engineering reported last week that 20 of its members had died in less than a month - more than in a whole year.

Happy reunion: A young woman is welcomed at Shanghai's Pudong Airport.

© Hector Retamal/afp

China's top epidemiologist Liang Wannian said on Monday that opening the country in the middle of winter was still the right thing to do.

"The pathogenicity of the coronavirus, especially the omicron variant, is now weak," Liang told state broadcaster CCTV.

"We believe that this is the best time to adapt the strategy and the measures for this variant." Liang's reasoning: If China had not relaxed the measures until next summer, the immunity of the population would be too weak again because the vaccinations would then be closed long ago.

Last summer, on the other hand, the vaccination rate was still too low.

China's government, Liang continued, has actively decided to relax now - and not because the pressure to finally open up was too great.

Corona in China: low vaccination rate, too few intensive care beds

Also the Chinese Communist Party newspaper, the People's

Daily

, claimed in a lengthy article on Monday that the state leadership had been gradually preparing for the opening since November.

In several meetings it was found that the omicron variant is less deadly and at the same time the vaccination rate increases.

So it was right to open the zero-Covid policy in December.

In fact, however, China's vaccination campaign is only progressing in small steps.

In mid-December, according to official data, 86.6 percent of people over 60 were twice vaccinated - just one percentage point more than in August.

Older people over the age of 80 are also particularly at risk, since only a good 42 percent of this age group have also received a booster vaccination.

According to studies, three vaccinations are necessary to have full vaccination protection with the Chinese vaccines.

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China's government under party leader Xi Jinping has obviously failed to prepare the population for the supposedly long-planned opening with a targeted vaccination campaign.

The number of intensive care beds is also still low: there are only four specially equipped hospital beds for every 100,000 people in China, compared with 7.1 in Hong Kong and – as of 2020 – 33.9 in Germany.

What these low numbers mean in concrete terms will become sadly evident in the coming weeks, when many millions of Chinese travel to the countryside to visit their relatives for the Chinese New Year, which is celebrated on January 22 this year.

The first local authorities have already called on people to stay at home this year.

"Avoid visiting relatives and friends to protect yourself and others!" appealed the government of the city of Weifang on China's east coast.

So far, however, it does not look as if the Chinese will let their loved ones celebrate after three years of the corona pandemic.

The wave of travel began last Saturday, with almost 40 percent more travelers than the year before.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-01-11

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