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Is China’s zero-Covid policy creating emotional turmoil among people?

Is China's zero-Covid policy creating emotional turmoil among people?

Angry crowds took to the streets in Shanghai in the early hours of November 27 and videos on social media showed protests in other cities across China, as public opposition to the government’s hardline zero-Covid policy mounts. AFP

New Delhi: With a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases across China, the authorities are imposing strict lockdowns amid protests against the zero-covid policy. Residents in some cities in China are using blank sheets of paper and flowers to protest against the government.

What started the civil unrest amid Covid curbs?

The widespread civil unrest started after ten people died in a deadly fire at a high-rise building in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region. Videos of the incident led to accusations that the lockdown hampered rescue efforts.

Crowds carrying lighted candles in memory of those killed in the fire at an apartment block reported under COVID-19 lockdown in Urumqi in Xinjiang shouted slogans against the arbitrary lockdowns by the government to curb the spread of the virus and in solidarity with the weekend protests in Shanghai.

We dont want emperors, say protestors in China

A large crowd protested with blank sheets of paper and chanted, “We don’t want emperors.”

In Wuhan, where the pandemic began three years ago, hundreds of residents protested, overturning Covid testing tents and demanding an end to harsh lockdowns.

What is China’s zero Covid policy?

China is adhering to a more aggressive approach with the “zero Covid” policy, which involves complete control and maximum suppression for the elimination of the virus by using aggressive public health measures, such as contact tracing, social isolation, mass testing, and lockdowns.

Uunder this policy, cities are directed to impose stringent lockdowns and follow strict measures of social isolation even if only a small number of cases are reported. The objective of the strategy is to ensure there are no new infections and the virus is eliminated so that the nation can resume its usual social and economic affairs.

Zero-Covid policy and emotional turmoil among people

According to a report in Hindustan Times, draconian measures were getting implemented such as separating families after testing positive and placing people in isolation. The measures are creating emotional turmoil among the general public as post-separation, the essential medical treatments are not prompt due to administrative flaws, thus extending the period of separation.

There are also reports of incidents where individuals who tested negative were taken to quarantine facilities and were forced to give access to their residence to disinfect the premises. People are expressing resentment towards the heavy-handedness of the government.

With a sharp economic recovery after the first wave in 2020, the Chinese economy is once again experiencing the adverse impacts of Covid-19 due to the approach followed by the authorities.

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