While most of the world perceives covid 19 as an event to be left in the past, China still faces major complications regarding the virus and is living a life bound by lockdowns and regulations. To understand the situation in China we must first understand the criteria used for the number of recorded positive cases and deaths that have occurred as a result. This is a very specific dataset that China uses which only records cases of death caused by respiratory illnesses as a direct effect of COVID-19 (BBC, 2022). No cumulative effects of covid 19 that may have caused deaths will be added to the statistics confirming them. The number of positive cases is only recorded directly from hospitals and fever clinics whilst asymptomatic cases and positive results from self-testing at home are not recorded in the overall data (BBC, 2022). This means that although the media statistics given may not seem drastic enough for a lockdown the true number of positive cases and deaths is much higher.
Shepherd, A. 2021.China races to contain covid outbreak. [Online] Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n307 [23 January 2023].
Before this China had put in place one of the toughest anti-Covid systems the world has seen, known as the zero-Covid policy (Liddell, 2022). This included strict lockdown restrictions even if only a few Covid cases were reported. These few cases induced mass testing in the areas where the virus was found and all those who tested positive went into strict isolation under quarantine at government-provided camps which were mostly understaffed (Liddell, 2022). A person required a negative covid test to enter public restaurants, buildings, and transportation however these protocols have recently been lifted. Lockdown and quarantine rules have been abolished in addition to China planning to fully reopen its borders from 8 January 2023 (BBC, 2022). The changes to the zero-Covid policy were brought about as a result of landmark protests by the citizens of China which has now led to there being over 30 000 new recorded cases each day (Mao, 2022). Reasons for the protests other than the understaffed camps were people being removed from their homes and forced to quarantine in the government centers with poor living conditions (Mao, 2022).
While this lift on the lockdown may seem like a good thing, many are against it or have mixed feelings when considering the consequences. Besides the higher risk of the elderly now being infected with the virus which can be fatal in most cases, there is a mass strain placed on the healthcare system and its workers (Mao, 2022). People with opposing views, however, see it as a good thing as families who were separated by the lockdown have finally been reunited, and there are fewer laws restricting people’s social lives and businesses which have seen negative consequences in the past 3 years. These conflicting views go all the way up to the country’s vice-premier, Sun Chunlan who stated that the virus’s ability to cause disease is weakening and a new situation is being created which is less dire (Mao, 2022). This statement is opposed by experts who advise against the lifting of zero-Covid as this will cause huge spikes in the number of cases.
These conflicting points of view and statements are what complicate the situation even further in China and the increase in cases will have major consequences for businesses. China is known as “the world’s factory” because of its powerful business ecosystem and although the easing of the lockdown may seem like it will be good for businesses, in the long run with the amount of increasing positive covid cases this could lead to another hard lockdown and set China back to square one. This causes a ripple effect for businesses internationally that depend on China’s manufacturing power.
China covid: How many cases and deaths are there? (2022) BBC News. BBC. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/59882774 (Accessed: January 12, 2023).
Liddell, J. (2022) Bodies piling up in Chinese hospital hallways as strict Covid Lockdown relaxed, mirror. Available at: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/bodies-piling-up-chinese-hospital-28776479 (Accessed: January 12, 2023).
Mao, F. (2022) China abandons key parts of zero-covid strategy after protests, BBC News. BBC. Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-63855508 (Accessed: January 13, 2023).
Shepherd, A. (2021) China races to contain Covid outbreak, The BMJ. British Medical Journal Publishing Group. Available at: https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n307 (Accessed: January 23, 2023).