Order from lockdown to normal, but not at the cost of lives

With easing restrictions, things are going back to "normal" in some Western countries, but for Shanghai, where infection rates are surging, a heavy price is being paid with people's lives.

Zhang Zhouxiang

Zhang Zhouxiang

China Daily


Medical workers disinfect the building where they took swab samples from residents for nucleic acid testing at the Guangfu residential area in Yuyuan sub-district in Shanghai, April 16, 2022. Medical workers conducted nucleic acid tests on those who tested positive via the antigen screening on Saturday in the Guangfu residential area. [Photo/Xinhua]

April 19, 2022

BEIJING – A total of 2,723 new infections were reported in China on Sunday, of which 2,417 were in Shanghai. There were also 20,639 asymptomatic infections reported, of which 19,831 were in Shanghai.Together, the number is comparable to that of Wuhan in its worst days of early February, 2020.

It is safe to say that the ongoing wave of novel coronavirus infections poses an unprecedented challenge to the Chinese mainland, especially Shanghai. With a population of more than 25 million, the lockdown of the mega-city is the only measure possible to prevent the number from rising so fast that it overwhelms its medical system.

A lockdown is a lockdown. It will naturally mean inconveniences for local residents. Having to stay at home for weeks has already exhausted some residents’ patience. The shortages of food and high commodity prices have resulted in a growing number of complaints. That’s why Vice-Mayor Zong Ming apologized at a news conference on April 9, admitting there is much that can be done to improve the government’s work performance and the Shanghai residents have sacrificed much for the anti-pandemic work.

What is happening in Shanghai has caught the attention of the world. While sympathy and support has been forthcoming, there has also been the claim that “the solution is worse than the problem”, as suggested in Trevor Noah’s Daily Show.

But the facts prove otherwise. In the United States, where anti-pandemic measures have been loosened, the total number of infections has already reached 80.6 million and the death toll due to COVID has reached 988,617. The situation is similar in the United Kingdom, which has ended all restrictions, with 4.38 million infections and 127,270 deaths in total.

Things are going back to “normal” in some Western countries, but for that “normal” a heavy price is being paid with people’s lives.

That’s a price that China is not willing to pay. For China, every life matters and it is doing all it can so that tens of millions don’t get infected and so prevent millions of deaths. Senior citizens are especially vulnerable to the virus. There are 264 million elderly in China, that’s almost six times the adult population of the US.

The lockdown is a tough solution, but the problems Shanghai faces because of it are more tolerable than the problem of letting the virus spread freely.

Some argue that the Omicron variant is mild, but it is not the only variant of the virus and if the virus is allowed to run wild more strains will emerge. The country will not test the mildness of every variant that may emerge with human lives.

It is based on its cherishing every life that China has been adhering to its dynamic clearing strategy. Actually, before the latest wave of the pandemic, daily life in China had generally returned to normal for two years, with the pandemic brought largely under control. This enabled the country to become the only major economy to achieve positive economic growth in 2020. Most people can still go to Walmart, and they can do so assured of their safety rather than going there fearing they may get infected.

Of all the confirmed 2,417 infections found in Shanghai on Sunday, 1,409 were found in closed loops and 853 were those who were previously asymptomatic, which is a good sign, as it means the majority of new infections under monitoring. The ongoing wave in Shanghai will be controlled and local residents’ daily life will return to normal.

And welcome Noah and our colleagues from all over the world to visit the municipality then. At least in this municipality and this country, will they be free from the fear of being infected.

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