Domestic state media is praising China border policies, the world’s longest and toughest COVID-19-induced travel curbs on students and travellers, as other countries scramble to contain the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
“Major Western countries have cut air links with countries such as South Africa, showing that these countries are frightened. Establishing an immune shield based on the vaccine alone has actually proved to be a risky route, and can even be said to have failed to a large extent,” wrote an editorial on Global Times, a state-run nationalist tabloid, as reported by CNN.
The editorial branded China “a true impregnable fortress against the spread of the virus in the world today.” “China’s dynamic zero-case route has been criticised in the West in many ways. However, if the Omicron variant launches a new wave of attack, it is China that will be best able to block its invasion.”
China border policies: The ‘magic weapon’ against COVID-19
First reported to the World Health Organisation in South Africa less than a week ago, the new strain has rapidly spread everywhere from Africa to the Pacific, and from Europe to Canada, causing dozens of countries to announce travel restrictions.
The severity of the economic impact will depend on how dangerous the variant proves to be, and how well existing vaccinations stand up to it. That has meant that even with the most favourable scenarios in mind, economists are already revising their 2022 forecasts downwards.
The International Monetary Fund, which expects growth of 4.9% for the next year, has been insisting for months that the coronavirus and its variants remain the main threat.
On Sunday, China’s chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Wu Zunyou called China’s zero-tolerance containment policy a “magic weapon” to control the pandemic. “We must stick to it, at least through this winter and next spring,” he said.
China risks a daily infection count of at least 637,155, a CDC study found, if they open up like the UK, US, and European countries.
Additional reporting by AFP