Eoin Treacy's view -
Tension is spreading through Shanghai as residents watch the Covid-19 caseload tick higher, fueling fears they’re headed back into lockdown little more than five weeks after exiting a bruising two-month ordeal.
The city reported 59 new infections for Monday, the fourth day in a row case numbers have held above 50. The sharp rise from single digits about a week ago follows the detection of the more contagious BA.5 sub-strain of the omicron variant, which has triggered two additional rounds of mass testing between Tuesday and Thursday this week across nine of the financial hub’s 16 districts, as well as other areas where cases have been found.
China’s strict Covid Zero approach is once again being tested as outbreaks flare across the country amid the arrival of a sub-variant that has fueled rising caseloads elsewhere. Already, close to 30 million people nationwide are under some form of movement restrictions to quell transmission, but authorities have so far steered clear of strict lockdowns in key economic regions.
Quarantines work in the initial stages of an outbreak because there is still some hope the rate of infection can be contained. The only reason to sustain a quarantine during a pandemic, where there is no hope of containing the global spread, is to slow the rate of infection. The time bonus gained from slowing the rate of infection can be used to prepare treatments, vaccines and recovery areas, but no one is under any illusion that quarantines can indefinitely turn back a pandemic. Eventually everyone is going be infected.
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