China’s strategy against the coronavirus is unsustainable, according to the WHO. China is taking strong action and on several social media platforms, criticism from the WHO has been censored.
China has long had a zero strategy in the fight against the coronavirus, and also managed for a while to keep infection rates down.
Recently, infection rates have been considerably higher, partly due to the large spread of the omicron variant, and a low proportion of the elderly who have been vaccinated.
For over a month and a half, the city of Shanghai has been shut down under very strict measures. The inhabitants of the city have largely not been allowed to leave their homes, and many have complained about poor deliveries of food.
Residents are said to have been locked up without warning in April – watch video:
Neighborhoods in the capital Beijing have also been shut down in the past week.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) believes it is time for China to make changes.
– When it comes to the strategy of zero vision for covid-19, we do not believe that it is sustainable considering the development of the virus and what we expect in the future, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday.
He said that the WHO has been in contact with Chinese experts and asked them to change the strategy, but that it may seem that China is not interested in hearing.
The statements did not go down well with the Chinese authorities, who retaliated on Wednesday:
“We hope that relevant people can see China’s strategy for the prevention and control of epidemics, objectively and rationally, gain more knowledge about the facts and refrain from making irresponsible comments,” said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
The country, with more than 1.4 billion inhabitants, has had just over 5,000 corona deaths during the pandemic, with 33 deaths registered so far this week.
On Monday, 3,426 new corona infections were registered in the country, which is the lowest number in a day since March 16.
Despite this, Chinese President Xi Jinping insisted on the strict measures, arguing that relief would lead to large-scale infection, many serious illnesses and deaths due to the large number of elderly people and poor health.
– The Chinese authorities’ strategy for preventing and controlling epidemics will withstand the test of history. Our prevention and control measures are scientific and effective, the spokesperson claims.
Censored and removed
On Wednesday morning, the UN published a post on Weibo, one of China’s largest social media platforms, with the statements from the WHO chief.
During the morning, the post was no longer visible due to “user privacy settings”, writes CNN. It is unclear under what circumstances the settings were changed.
A so-called “hashtag” with Tedros’ name has also been censored, according to CNN. Pictures showing his face have been removed, but posts containing his name are still visible.
The UN also published an article on WeChat, another major social media app in China, with a statement from the WHO. On Wednesday morning, the post was removed due to “violation of relevant laws and regulations”.
Video clips of the WHO chief have also been removed from the platform.