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The worst fears are coming true. After Beijing abandoned zero-Covid, the leadership radically opened up and without any plan left the people to their fate. Reliable data is no longer available because testing is virtually non-existent. However, estimates predict millions of infected in the next few weeks – and millions of dead.
Reports of overflowing crematories are coming in from Chongqing, Guangzhou and Beijing, and images of hospitals with body bags everywhere are circulating on social media. It brings back memories of Wuhan at the beginning of the pandemic. But back then, the virus was new. Xi Jinping is personally responsible for this latest catastrophe. With just a little more foresight and less ideological stubbornness, he could have prevented this suffering. Virologists already fear that the next devastating variant could emerge in China.
With the Covid tsunami now going full steam across the country, holding on to the already insane quarantine rule for foreign visitors makes even less sense. Experts believe it will soon be lifted. The German business community may be pleased, as it will make traveling to and from China easier. But who would want to travel to a country on the brink of a health disaster anytime soon? Everyone should avoid China in the coming weeks.
Epidemic with fatal consequences
Despite rising infection levels, the city of Beijing continues to open up. Bars, gyms and karaoke stores are set to reopen. Although a city spokesman admitted that despite infections “progressing rapidly”, “original prevention and control policies and measures that should be canceled should be canceled resolutely”. The goal was to “resume work and normal life as soon as possible”. China continues to focus on protecting health, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.
Experts, however, have a much bleaker outlook on the near future than the government. “The global economic fallout from China’s new mega tsunami wave will be ugly,” writes Chinese-born US epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding on Twitter. Feigl-Ding also warns of global pharmaceutical shortages. If China were now to restrict exports for the benefit of its own people, vital medications would be missing in the West (China.Table reported).
Cover-up of what everyone knows
Feigl-Ding also expects the death toll to exceed current estimates. While Hong Kong researchers expect just under one million deaths (China.Table reported), he fears several million. A high, steep wave is looming.