As China is currently struggling with its worst COVID-19 situation since the 2020 outbreak, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated on Tuesday that the “zero-COVID” policy of China is not ‘sustainable’, given the ever-evolving characteristics of the virus. During a press conference, Tedros said, “When we talk about the zero-COVID strategy, we do not think that it is sustainable, considering the behaviour of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future.”

These remarks of the WHO chief came after China had implemented harsh restrictions to stop the virus from transmitting, which led Shanghai’s 25 million residents to be trapped at home for weeks. Further, the lockdown in Shanghai has sparked fury and protest among the citizens.

WHO officials, according to Tedros, have spoken with Chinese specialists regarding the zero-COVID policy. Although the drastic measures have saved lives, they have also resulted in food shortages, labour shortages, and mobility limitations. He went on to say that switching to a different tactic would be essential.

The WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “We have discussed this issue with Chinese experts and we indicated that the approach will not be sustainable…I think a shift would be very important.” He also added, “Now we know a lot about the virus and we have better tools, so these are the additional opportunities that we have to make a shift.”

China issued directive strengthening COVID regulations despite low cases

Apart from this, despite a minimal number of COVID instances being reported in numerous places, China’s government has issued an urgent directive strengthening COVID regulations. The Shanghai government had issued notifications instructing citizens to remain indoors. Residents were also ordered to observe a “quiet” period during which they were prohibited from accepting non-essential deliveries until May 11, Associated Press reported.

The warning added that based on the findings of mass testing, the tighter measures might be prolonged. According to a notice issued in the city’s Huangpu district, “Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Together we can lift the lockdown at an early date”. It is worth noting that as of May 10, Shanghai recorded roughly 4,000 cases and 11 fatalities, down from 15,000 instances on April 18 when the city reported its highest number of cases.

China COVID-19 cases

Meanwhile, during a meeting with senior leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that the government will continue with its policy, and authorities pledged to “resolutely fight” any criticism of its virus-control methods. Further, as per Worldometers, over 2,20,721 individuals have been affected by the coronavirus in the nation since its outbreak, and more than 5,198 people have lost their lives.

(Image: AP/ shutterstock)