‘China risks 1.6 mn deaths if zero-Covid policy continues’

New York: China might witness a ‘tsunami’ of Covid cases resulting in 16 lakh deaths if the country abandons its prolonged ‘zero Covid policy’, according to researchers at Shanghai’s Fudan University.

The peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Nature, found that the level of immunity induced by China’s March vaccination campaign would be “insufficient” to prevent the Omicron wave of coronavirus that would swamp intensive care capacity.

The study predicted that if the government lifts the restriction, the Omicron variant of Covid-19 could lead to 112.2 million symptomatic cases, 5.1 million hospital admissions, and 1.6 million deaths, with the major wave occurring between May and July.

The research comes as WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus calls on China to rethink its zero-tolerance strategy, saying the approach no longer makes sense as the omicron variant spreads and the country’s economy suffers.

“We hope the relevant individual can view Chinese Covid policy objectively and rationally and know the facts, instead of making irresponsible remarks.”

–        China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian to WHO chief

President Xi Jinping has clung to China’s tough Covid strategy, tightening pandemic restrictions in Shanghai and expanding a mass testing sweep in Beijing.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy: medriva.com)

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