Since 2020, the Chinese government has imposed strict health restrictions, in the name of a so-called “zero Covid” policy. But it ended most of these measures without warning in early December, amid growing public exasperation and a huge impact on the economy, and changed its methodology for counting the virus’s dead. The number of cases has since exploded, raising fears of high mortality among the oldest, who are particularly vulnerable.
Dr. Michael Ryan, the WHO’s head of health emergencies, has long stressed the need for more vaccinations. “We have been saying for weeks that this highly contagious virus has always been very difficult to completely stop with only public health and social measures”he recalled. “We really need to focus on vaccination. That said, China has made tremendous progress over the past few weeks in vaccine distribution. Vaccination is the exit strategy in the face of a wave of Omicron.”