Despite the Costs, China Doubles Down on Its Zero-COVID Strategy

Despite the Costs, China Doubles Down on Its Zero-COVID Strategy
Medical workers take swab samples of arriving travelers at the exit of a railway station in Yantai, Shandong province, China, Nov. 2, 2021 (FeatureChina photo via AP Images).

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Shanghai Disneyland abruptly suspended its rides and closed its gates on Halloween, after a guest who visited the park the previous day tested positive for the coronavirus upon arrival in the neighboring city of Hangzhou. Nearly 34,000 Disneyland staff and park-goers shuffled through tents set up for coronavirus tests, as fireworks exploded above their heads—a surreal scene that has become the norm in China as part of Beijing’s elimination strategy to combat the pandemic. Even after those tested were allowed to leave the park, they were required to undergo another test 24 hours later, followed by 12 days of self-monitoring. 

Zhang Wenhong, a respected infectious disease expert who in July drew the ire of Chinese authorities for suggesting the country must learn to live with the virus, this time praised the park’s prompt handling of the reported case. “All tourists can now sleep peacefully,” he wrote in a post on Weibo. “Countless of my colleagues will continue to work on completing standard procedures for virus prevention and control, just to make this city and the lives of people in this city a little better.”

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