China continues with the “Zero-Covid” policy, the only anti-pandemic strategy, according to President Xi Jinping himself, capable of guaranteeing the health of the Chinese, despite the heavy economic consequences. The system involves the use of very strict lockdowns in areas where COVID-19 outbreaks develop and mass tests for the population, in order to identify as many cases as possible, even asymptomatic ones, then isolating them from the rest of the population. Until the first months of 2022, this approach had allowed China to greatly contain new infections, but it is proving to be inadequate to counter the spread of the much more contagious omicron variant.
In Shanghai, where the situation is increasingly difficult due to a wave of coronavirus that began more than a month ago, a few days ago local authorities have begun to install fences and nets outside buildings to reduce population movements. Barriers have appeared in numerous neighborhoods, without the inhabitants being warned in time. People in these “sealed areas” are unable to leave their homes for any reason, whether they have coronavirus or are negative, according to local authorities to reduce the risk of being infected. The inhabitants are rarely warned about the construction of the fences, finding them outside the door at any moment, sometimes with padlocks and chains to prevent any exit or entry. The presence of the nets has also made it more difficult for the delivery boys to distribute food and other goods, whose work in recent weeks has proved essential for the residents stranded in their homes. Through the home delivery apps and the WeChat messaging apps, many locals have organized shopping groups to simplify food distribution, even if placing an order is not easy due to the very high demand and the limited number of open stores. and deliverymen at work.
Some images of the transport and assembly of the networks were shared on Chinese chats and social networks, overcoming the censorship of the government of China, which is trying to limit the circulation of unofficial news about the lockdown as much as possible.
After a month of Covid emergency in Shanghai, the alarm for a new lockdown also extends to Beijing. The Omicron BA variant appears to be spreading also in the Chinese capital where 11 cases were recorded in the Chaoyang district last Sunday. For this reason, the authorities have announced the start of three rounds of mass testing on residents in that area. The hope is that the capital will be spared from the very strict quarantine that is doubling Shanghai.
A completely different story in Europe and especially in Italy.
After the end of the state of emergency on March 31st and the reduction in the use of the green pass, from next May 1st in Italy green masks and certification will stop being mandatory. According to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health, we go back (almost) to pre-Covid times, with more freedom even in bars, restaurants and nightclubs. A “normal” summer, as in the old days, with no more restrictions or at least with the elimination of most of them. Yet the numbers of infections in Italy on April 26 revealed 29,575 new positives (24,878 the previous day) from coronavirus. The positivity rate is 16.18% and the victims were 146 (93 the previous day). The number of hospitalized patients is growing (10,328), while intensive care has dropped to 409 (416 the day before). Data, however, although not alarming, are indicative of the fact that we must not let our guard down, because the enemy continues to be around the corner, ready to strike again.
Excessive optimism of our Italian government or exasperated precaution of the Chinese government? Without letting ourselves go to unnecessary alarmism, we live the near future with optimism but with healthy caution.