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China’s Covid-zero strategy to overcome the pandemic is not ‘sustainable,’ according to The World Health Organization (WHO).
The Asian superpower has put in place extreme methods to maintain its policy of zero Covid-19 cases in the nation, with most of Shanghai’s 26 million population trapped at home since March 28 with no end date in sight.
The WHO is advising Beijing to change its policy, with the government facing outrage and protests from its citizens.
A video on TikTok, posted by Brut. America, shows residents hanging out their apartment windows and banging on pans while pleading for freedom.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference: “When we talk about the zero-Covid strategy, we don't think that it's sustainable, considering the behaviour of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future.
"We have discussed about this issue with Chinese experts and we indicated that the approach will not be sustainable.
"Transiting into another strategy will be very important."
Chinese President Xi Jinping has pinned the legitimacy of his leadership on keeping deaths from Covid-19 at a minimum, which underscores the political motivations behind the policy.
Despite the increasing public frustration, President Xi has doubled down on his approach.
WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan told reporters: “We need to balance the control measures against the impact they have on society, the impact they have on the economy, and that's not always an easy calibration.”
Ryan said any Covid-19 prevention methods should be in respect to human rights and he has called for ‘dynamic, adjustable and agile policies’.
Ryan believes China’s relatively low deaths from Covid-19 have led leadership to believe they had ‘something to protect’ in terms of maintaining that reputation throughout the world.
China saw a surge in Covid-19-related deaths throughout March and April.
Ryan said: “Any government in that situation will take action to try and combat that.”
WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19 Maria Van Kerkhove said it is impossible to stop the spread of the virus.
She told AFP (via France 24): “Our goal, at a global level, is not to find all cases and stop all transmissions. It's really not possible at this present time.
"But what we need to do is drive transmission down because the virus is circulating at such an intense level."
Despite The WHO’s advice, authorities in Shanghai announced on Monday (May 9) that they would be reinforcing tight restrictions despite falling Covid-19 cases.
Thousands of residents are being forced into quarantine centres with other patients who have tested positive but have few or no symptoms.
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