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Experts: China’s strategy is doomed to failure

As part of China’s “dynamic intolerance” toward COVID-19, the city of Shanghai of 26 million has been locked down. But China’s strategy against the spread of infection is doomed to failure, according to experts.

The reason is that omicron is highly contagious and you can get infected, even if you have been vaccinated. After that, it’s very difficult to have zero vision, says Magnus Jeslin, professor of infectious diseases at the Sahlgrenska Academy and chief medical officer of the infection clinic at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

In addition, he says, there is currently no indication that the virus has disappeared. Not in the near future, anyway.

You’ll come back and then I see what’s going on in China now as an impossible strategy, because you can’t shut down forever, says Magnus Gislin.

Jean Albert, Professor of Infection Control At Karolinska Institutet, on the same track.

As long as you don’t get immunity with a good vaccine, it’s going to be tough. Then we’ll see more outbreaks, he says.

China indicated that 89 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated. But in China, they invested mainly in the domestic vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac and exactly how effective these vaccines are against the omicron variant, no one knows.

– It also concerns the time of their vaccination, because the protection already deteriorates after about six months, says Jean-Albert.

Jean Albert

Jean Albert

Photo: Janerik Henerson/TT

The problem is that China has not changed its strategy, says Joakim Dillner, professor of infectious epidemiology at the Karolinska Institutet, at the same time that the virus has gradually become contagious.

At the start of 2020, it would have been reasonable to invest in zero tolerance. But the situation is completely different now. For each new variant, the infection increased, so I think keeping it away now would be very difficult, he says.

However, the question is what China should do better, given that the country has a relative shortage of hospital beds and fewer intensive care units. Because somehow the Chinese also have to learn to live with the virus. However, no one believes in unleashing all restrictions.

But omikron is the least dangerous alternative, isn’t it?

– Yes, but this does not mean that it is harmless. When Omicron spread to Hong Kong, it became a dramatic climax, with many deaths as a result. We’ve also seen in Sweden that some unvaccinated people who contracted omicron became so seriously ill that they required hospital care. So one has to put the risk of acute oomicron disease in relation to the immunity of the population. Magnus Gislin says Omikron usually causes mild illness, but that’s also due to receiving a lot of vaccinations.

Magnus Gislin

Magnus Gislin

Photo: Ingrid Jeslin

According to Jean Albert, it would be better for the Chinese to balance continued restrictions on a certain degree of openness, with continued vaccination, in order to increase immunity. Just like we did in Sweden.

– We had many deaths at the beginning of the epidemic, but in general we managed well. You can’t give up everything in China. It’s hard to say what degree of restrictions they should impose, but I don’t believe in keeping the virus completely at bay. Not in the long term.

Read more:

Torbjörn Petersson: Things can go wrong when one man decides in China

Marianne Björklund: In a China where you have zero tolerance, every day can be your last day of freedom

The intolerance of China hits the Chinese economy hard

Studio DN: China’s fight against coronavirus: ‘Please control your soul’s yearning for freedom’

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