Chinese city proposes flu lockdowns – and faces backlash

hong kong

A Chinese city has sparked a backlash on social media after saying it would consider resorting to lockdowns in the event of a flu outbreak.

The city of Xi’an – a tourist hotspot in Shaanxi province that is home to the famous Terracotta Warriors – revealed an emergency response plan this week that would see it close schools, businesses and ” other overcrowded places” in the event of a severe flu epidemic.

It caused a mixture of anxiety and anger on Chinese social media websites among many users who said the plan looked uncomfortably like some of the strict zero-Covid measures China had implemented throughout the pandemic and which have only recently been abandoned.

“Vaccinate the public rather than using this time to create a sense of panic,” one user wrote on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.

“How will people not panic given that Xi’an’s proposal to suspend work and business activities was issued without a clear instruction at the national level to classify the disease?” asked another.

As Covid cases in China decline, there has been a spike in flu cases across the country and some pharmacies are struggling to keep up with demand for flu remedies.

However, Xi’an’s emergency response plan will not necessarily be used. Rather, it describes how the city of nearly 13 million people would respond to any future outbreaks based on four levels of severity.

At the first and highest level, he says, “the city can lock down infected areas, implement traffic quarantines, and suspend production and business operations. Shopping malls, theaters, libraries, museums, tourist attractions and other crowded places will also be closed. »

“At this level of emergency, schools and nurseries at all levels would be closed and would be responsible for monitoring the health status of pupils and infants.”

The backlash comes as the central government in Beijing stressed the need to reopen the country after all Covid restrictions were removed in January.

Throughout the pandemic, China has enforced some of the toughest Covid restrictions in the world, including lockdowns that have stretched for months in some cities. It was also one of the last countries in the world to end measures such as mass testing and strict border quarantine measures, even amid growing evidence of damage to its economy.

Xi’an itself was subject to a draconian lockdown between December 2021 and January 2022, with 13 million residents confined to their homes for weeks – and many found themselves short of food and other supplies essential. Access to medical services has also been affected. In an incident that shocked and angered the nation, a heavily pregnant woman was discharged from a hospital on New Year’s Day because she did not have a valid Covid-19 test and suffered a miscarriage after finally being admitted two hours later.

Residents take nucleic acid tests in a gated community in Xi'an in January 2022.

Shortly before China lifted its pandemic-era restrictions, the country was rocked by a series of protests against its zero-Covid policy.

Memories of being confined to their homes and panic buying which in some areas led to food shortages remain fresh in people’s minds and the idea of ​​a return to Covid-style measures seems to have struck a chord.

However, some voices online have called for calm. “It’s just the revelation of a proposal, not its implementation,” wrote one user on Weibo.

“It is completely normal to take precautions given that this flu wave is hitting us very hard.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GreenLeaf Tw2sl