COVID upturn and Xi’s no tolerance policy

According to the Chinese health ministry, nationwide locally transmitted infections climbed to new heights and 7,475 cases were recorded on November 7, the highest ever since May 1. The experts view the latest surge as a test for test China’s ability to keep its COVID measures surgical and targeted and a challenge to the expectations of investors that the world’s second-largest economy could soon reopen its borders or even back off from its zero-tolerance approach. Although, the increase was modest by global standards but significant for China, where outbreaks are quickly tackled whenever surfaced.

Three years after the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the city of Wuhan, mainland China. The cases of coronavirus infections are again on an upward trajectory and the world’s second-largest economy is unable to overcome the lethality of this microorganism. Despite, the application of the most stringent anti-COVID-19 measures, strict surveillance, and extensive monitoring by the government, the recurrent upsurges in Coronavirus cases in the world’s most populous nation clearly demonstrates that the Chinese authorities fail to bring the tally of COVID-19 infection to the minimum affordable rate that creates a permissible space for the Chinese government to move on with normal business activities, travel, and tourism. Interestingly, after the initial countrywide outspread in early 2020, the periodic epicenter of the pandemic has been shifting to different regions from Wuhan, Beijing, Xinjiang, Shangai, and now Guangzhou. China’s zero-COVID-19 policy remained instrumental in circumventing the deadliest episodes of infection in its country as several western nations including the US, the UK, Spain, and Italy fell to the ruination of the virus in the past.

Historically, the COVID-19 pandemic badly damaged the Chinese economy, slowed its growth rate, and lowered the Country’s GDP during the Q-2 of the current year to the second lowest level since 1992. The so-called Chinese winning strategy of strict lockdowns agaisnt the coronavirus pandemic sharply hampered the economy, halted businesses and the supply chain of essential commodities and other goods, collapsed the property market, and shrunk the buying capacity of the masses. Similarly, the yuan weakened against the dollar and Chinese stocks slipped in recent weeks as the rising COVID caseload eroded optimism about China’s reopening its borders shut for foreign visitors, tourists, students, and businessmen since 2020.

Presently, various segments of Chinese society and local governments are resisting the enforcement of the SOPs of China’s highly strict zero-COVID policy, which not only hurt the masses but also put the worst impacts on industry, economy, and local administrations in the country. According to experts, the Chinese economy and zero COVID policy could not move hand in hand anymore, and President Xi Jinping must consider the negative effects of this policy vis-a-vis falling economic growth, budget deficit, and the monetary constraints being faced by Beijing.

After re-electing for the third term, President Xi has an ambitious agenda for the rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation after the 1949 revolution in country. Apparently, Xi intends to continue his stringent economic and social measures at home along with enhancement of the global Chinese agenda abroad, however, the world is anxious about Xi’s new anti-COVID doctrine amid multiple challenges confronting the Chinese nation, which would have an important role in China’s global outlook in the days ahead.