The lifting of zero-Covid policies in China would see a “tsunami” of infections and almost 1.6 million deaths, a study claims, citing in part China’s low vaccination rate of elderly residents.
The peer reviewed study by Shanghai’s Fudan University, which was published in the Nature journal, said a decision by Chinese authorities to lift such measures could see more than 112 million symptomatic cases of Covid-19, five million hospitalisations, and 1.55 million deaths.
“We find that the level of immunity induced by the March 2022 vaccination campaign would be insufficient to prevent an Omicron wave that would result in exceeding critical care capacity with a projected intensive care unit peak demand of 15.6 times the existing capacity,” the paper said.
However, it also said that with access to vaccines and antivirals and “maintaining implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions,” authorities could prevent the health system being overwhelmed. It suggested these factors could be more of a focus in future policies.
Case numbers are dropping in China but remain spread across multiple provinces. On Wednesday authorities reported 1,905 cases including 302 symptomatic. The bulk of cases are still being found in Shanghai, which has been under lockdown for more than two months.
On Tuesday authorities announced new guidelines for people to home quarantine. Part of the change specified that among other requirements, the homes must have ventilation and drainage systems that “won’t contaminate those of other households,” a report in the Global Times said.
Other requirements include separate bathrooms and bedrooms, and the ability to care for oneself, which is in line with home isolation arrangements in other countries.
There have been reports of Chinese residents complaining against the zero-Covid policy. They have faced shortage of food, and medicines, as they have been completely barred from stepping outside.
During a recent speech, President Xi maintained his commitment to China’s zero covid approach.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NDTV.COM