Covid-19 is tearing through China – The Economist

by | Dec 28, 2022 | COVID-19

AFTER NEARLY three years of self-imposed isolation, China is opening up again. The domestic travel restrictions, mass-testing requirements and draconian lockdowns of the “zero-covid” policy were scrapped in early December. On January 8th China will reopen its borders, too. People arriving from abroad will no longer have to quarantine. More flights into China will be allowed. Visas will be granted to business travellers and students (though not yet to tourists). And Chinese nationals will be allowed to travel abroad without needing to provide the authorities with a reason.But for a sense of how much the covid situation in China has changed look at Japan and India. They are now demanding that incoming Chinese travellers take a covid test first. In the span of a couple of months, China has gone from being a country with an incredibly small number of infections to, perhaps, the world’s largest covid hotspot.It is hard to gauge how many Chinese people have been infected so far. The central government is probably modelling the outbreak, but the data it releases to the public are useless. It had been reporting only a few thousand new cases a day, nowhere near the real number. Some regional governments have provided more plausible estimates. Officials in Zhejiang, a wealthy eastern province with a population of about 65m, said on December 25th that they were seeing 1m new infections a day. They expect that number to double by around the new year.Most of China’s population has never been exposed to covid and many old people are undervacc …

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