WHO considers China’s “zero Covid” policy unsustainable

The “Covid zero” policy promoted by the Chinese government to contain the pandemic is “unsustainable”, said the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, on Tuesday, guaranteeing that he has already spoken about the matter with Chinese experts. “When we talk about the ‘Covid zero’ strategy, we believe it is unsustainable, given the current evolution of the virus and our predictions,” Tedros told a press conference in Geneva.

“As Dr Tedros said, you have to be able to adapt to circumstances, to what we see in the data (…) and he spoke in detail with his Chinese colleagues,” said Emergency Situations Director Michael Ryan, recalling that, for some time, this strategy allowed China to present a result of few deaths in relation to its population. “It’s something China wants to protect,” acknowledged Dr. Ryan.

Faced with the increase in the number of deaths in February and March of this year, the government is expected to react, said Michael Ryan. “But all your actions, as we have repeated from the beginning, must be taken with respect for people and human rights,” he added.

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Late last week, China again announced that it was sticking to its Covid-zero strategy, despite growing population dissatisfaction in Shanghai, where confined residents protest by banging pots on windows. The Asian giant faces its worst epidemic wave since spring 2020 and continues to apply the same policy as when the virus mutated and became much more contagious than the original strain detected in China in 2019.

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