China shows no signs of abandoning its zero-Covid strategy anytime soon, says Jefferies


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Volunteers in protective suits handle garbage outside an apartment building at College of Arts and Information Engineering of Dalian Polytechnic University in university town of Zhuanghe on November 15, 2021 in Dalian, Liaoning Province of China. More than 60 students in university town of Zhuanghe city have been diagnosed as COVID-19 cases, as of Sunday in Dalian.

VCG | Visual China Group | Getty Images

China is forging ahead with its zero-Covid approach, and there are signs it won’t be abandoning that stance anytime soon, according to U.S. investment bank Jefferies.

From the U.S. to large swathes of Europe and Asia, many countries are learning to live with the virus and have started lifting most restrictions.

Countries initially took an aggressive approach through mass lockdowns and strict social restrictions, but they gradually abandoned that strategy as the highly infectious delta variant spread quickly and lockdowns became less effective.

But China has not eased its ultra-strict zero-Covid strategy which involves mass lockdowns — even if just one or a handful of cases are detected. It also includes extensive testing, heavily controlled or closed borders, as well as robust contact tracing systems and quarantine mandates.

Most recently, Shanghai Disneyland visitors had to take Covid tests in order to exit. That requirement came after authorities learned that close contacts of an infected person had visited the park the week before.

 ‘Closed until further notice’

The Asian giant is now battling the spread of its biggest Covid outbreak caused by the delta variant, according to Reuters.

“China … appears to have done very well managing COVID, but the Delta variant poses new challenges. Besides suppressing domestic cases, ‘preventing imported cases’ is a key part of the strategy,” Jefferies analysts said in a Nov. 18 note.

“The result appears to be a country that has no immediate plans to open up and live with the virus. News of snap lockdowns continue, and it looks like China is closed until further notice.”

Jefferies highlighted three things that hint at China’s lack of immediate plans to move away from its zero-tolerance approach.

1. Passport renewal

2. Dedicated quarantine facilities

3. China’s health-care system 

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