- Covid wave in Hong Kong alerts Mainland China
- Provision against hunger
- LNG gas for Europe
- Survey shows Taiwan’s will to fight
- Yuan as currency for oil
- Development banks stop funding overseas energy projects
- EVs: Evergrande makes progress
- Sinolytics.Radar: expanding China’s SWIFT alternative
- Profile: Shahnura Kasim – raising awareness about Uyghurs on social media
Covid is currently rampant in China – at least according to the standards of the People’s Republic. Since the original outbreak in Wuhan more than two years ago, infection numbers in China have not been this high. Several cities of millions have been placed under lockdown, and schools have been closed. Starting March 21, international flights to Shanghai will be diverted to other regions for the next six weeks. Omicron is the decisive test for China’s Zero-Covid policy.
In today’s issue, Finn Mayer-Kuckuk analyzes the causes and effects of Hong Kong’s high number of deaths. The high mortality rate can mainly be attributed to the low vaccination rate among the elderly. This conclusion is a red flag for Mainland China. Many elderly Chinese lack sufficient immunization. And China’s vaccines are not effective enough against the Omicron variant. This is partly due to Beijing’s rejection of foreign mRNA vaccines. Will there now be a change in thinking?
The People’s Republic is striving for as much independence as possible when it comes to securing a stable food supply. Xi Jinping has repeatedly warned that the global market could not feed 1.4 billion people. Nevertheless, China obtains more than five percent of its own grain production from Ukraine. But it is not only the war that worries Beijing. Ozone pollution and climate change are also affecting its food production, writes Ning Wang.
Covid: Hong Kong’s failure is a warning to China
German virologist Christian Drosten considers the current situation in Hong Kong highly interesting from a scientific point of view. In hardly any other highly developed, statistically well-monitored region with a solid healthcare system is the vaccination rate among elderly citizens this low. Whereas in Germany or Japan more than 90 percent of its oldest citizens are vaccinated, the rate in Hong Kong at the beginning of the Omicron wave was only 34 percent – for the first vaccination. Only a little over 20 percent are fully vaccinated, let alone received the second jab. As a result, one in twenty infected Hong Kong residents is currently dying.
For Drosten, the situation in Hong Kong is particularly telling because it provides insight into the Omicron variant of the pathogen. In the beginning, it was not entirely clear: Is it really less dangerous? Or is it less lethal in South Africa and Europe than previous variants because it has hit a population with adequate basic immunity in vulnerable groups?
Data from the Far East now give Drosten the answer: “Hong Kong shows as expected: Omicron is not mild among unvaccinated elderly.” These are further data points that debunk the myth of the friendly Covid variant. Indeed, younger people, in particular, tend to get less sick from Omicron. But for the unprotected elderly, an infection is dangerous. The fact that we are not currently experiencing overwhelmed hospitals in Germany like in Hong Kong, is not because of the supposedly harmless Omicron. It’s because of vaccinations.
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