WHO director says China’s zero-Covid policy is not ‘sustainable’

A worker disinfects an aisle near closed stores after many retail stores closed to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 on May 10, 2022 in Beijing, China. The head of the World Health Organization said on Tuesday China’s zero-tolerance Covid-19 policy is unsustainable given what is known about the disease.

Kevin Frayer | Getty Images News | beautiful pictures

The head of the World Health Organization on Tuesday said China’s zero-tolerance Covid-19 policy is unsustainable given what is known about the disease, in some rare comments by the United Nations agency. National about the government’s handling of the virus.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference with the media: “We don’t think it is sustainable considering the behavior of the virus.

Speaking after Tedros, WHO Director Mike Ryan said the impact of a “zero-Covid” policy on human rights should also be considered along with the effect on a country’s economy from any policy. of Covid.

He also noted that China has recorded 15,000 deaths since the virus first emerged in the city of Wuhan at the end of 2019 – a relatively low number compared with 999,475 in the United States and more than 500,000. in India.

With that in mind, it’s understandable, Ryan said, that one of the world’s most populous countries wants to take tough measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

However, China’s zero-Covid policy has drawn criticism from scientists to its own people, leading to a cycle of closure of millions, suffering and anger.

Read more about China from CNBC Pro

Continued outbreaks also highlight how difficult it is to stop the spread of the highly contagious omicron variant.

Under zero-Covid, authorities lock down large residential areas to prevent the spread of the virus in response to any coronavirus outbreak, even if only a small number of people have test results. positive test.

Shanghai’s measures are particularly strict, with residents only being allowed out of compounds for special reasons, such as medical emergencies. Many are not even allowed out the front door to mingle with their neighbors.

Its isolation policy has also been criticized for separating children from their parents and putting asymptomatic cases in those with symptoms.

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