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Why does China insist on the lockdown, even with the population vaccinated?

Lockdown em Xangai: enfrentamento à pandemia foi “politizado” no país, e segunda dose entre idosos com mais de 80 anos ainda tem índices baixos

Lockdown in Shanghai: coping with the pandemic was “politicized” in the country, and second dose among elderly people over 80 years old still have low rates
| Photo: EFE/EPA/ALEX PLAVEVSKI

Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic-19, the China adopts a zero Covid policy, with strict lockdowns being imposed on communities and even entire cities when cases of the disease are detected.

In recent weeks, the severity of the measures imposed in Shanghai, the country’s largest city, has caused outrage, where fences have been placed in neighborhoods and buildings where infections have been recorded and many inhabitants have gone hungry. because they could not go out shopping and the distribution of food carried out by the Chinese authorities was inefficient.

Some restrictions are beginning to be revoked, but the lockdown should only end in June.

In China, 60% of population has already completed the vaccination cycle against Covid-19, which makes the question inevitable: why does the communist regime continue with the lockdowns despite the country boasting such a high immunization rate?

Last week, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated that the Chinese strategy cannot be sustained in the long term.

“When we talk about the Covid zero strategy, we don’t think it’s sustainable, considering the behavior of the virus now and what we foresee for the future”, he claimed, in statements that were censored on Chinese social networks.

In a report published last weekend by the scientific journal Lancet, two senior officials from China’s provincial-level health commissions criticized, on condition of anonymity, the strategy to combat Covid-19. 19 in the country.

“The Covid-19 has become a highly politicized disease in China, and any voice advocating a change to the current Covid zero route is punished,” he said. one of the employees. “No one at the top really listens to expert opinions anymore, and that is honestly humiliating for us medical experts.”

The other employee told the Lancet that the damage done by the Covid zero policy outweighs any gains. “There is no good value for money, and we all know that”, he lamented.

Another important issue is that, despite the high proportion of Chinese with complete vaccination, the immunization rate is still low precisely in the range most susceptible to complications from the disease: among Chinese with more than 60 years, just over % completed the vaccination cycle and less than 2022 % received the booster. Among the general population, just over half received the extra dose.

To complicate this equation, in a scenario in which the omicron prevails, China insists on vaccines manufactured in the country, which are not messenger RNA (mRNA), pointed out by experts as more efficient against the variant after the booster dose.

Eric Topol, director of the American research institute Scripps Research Translational Institute, told the Financial Times that inactivated virus vaccines, such as those made in China, have shown less efficacy, even reduced over time.

“These vaccines had 60% effectiveness, never been auspicious, but the omicron really exposed the problem,” he argued. China is preparing an mRNA vaccine, but it is still in testing.

In an article published in the journal Nature Medicine last week, Chinese and American scientists claimed that, without the Covid zero policy, the omicron variant could cause 1.6 million deaths in China in the next six months.

“We believe that the level of immunity induced by the March vaccination campaign of 2022 would be insufficient to avoid an omicron wave that would exceed the capacity of the intensive care structure, with a predicted peak demand by intensive care units of , 6 times the existing capacity”, argued the scientists.

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