zhang55_VCGVCG via Getty Images_shanghai lockdown VCG/VCG via Getty Images

What Justifies China’s Zero-COVID Policy?

In the years since COVID-19’s emergence, China has devised and implemented a highly effective disease-outbreak response system. While this has not eliminated the need for lockdowns, as in Shanghai, it has enabled far more limited and targeted closures.

SHANGHAI – A tough decision to lockdown Shanghai, China’s largest city, shocked the world. After six weeks, and despite a sharp decline in infections, Shanghai’s lockdown has imposed enormous costs on the city and its residents. Given that the Omicron variant has a low mortality rate among the vaccinated, and much of the rest of the world has been convinced to shift their strategies from lockdowns and movement restrictions to mass immunization, critics wonder why China’s zero-COVID policy is here to stay.