The question of when China might end its rigid zero-Covid policy is already for two years on the agenda. While a large part of the rest of the world has been helped by a rigorous vaccination program and ended most of the Covid measures, Goldman Sachs expects an end in China at best during the second quarter of 2023, according to this report by Bloomberg.
China’s stringent zero-COVID policies are not able to contain the current omicron variant because of the highly infectious nature, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) in a press conference on Tuesday 17 May. But the WHO also added each country can make its own decisions, even when they do not make sense according to scientific evidence, reports AP.
By lack of a decent crystal ball, predicting how and when the current Covid-19 restrictions in China will end is tough. But the recent news that China is canceling planned international sporting events for June 2023, is certainly bad news.
Reuters reports half May 2022 the country is canceling the 2023 Asian Football Cup finals due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.
Just as the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing ended, China’s media started to suggest the country is planning beyond the strict zero-covid policies later in the year. International travel has been virtually dead since early 2020, and many – including the China Speakers Bureau – have been waiting for a change in this policy.
China has been successful in its zero-contamination strategy against Covid-19 domestically but will have to keep its borders closed as long as the virus is raving around in the rest of the world. Leading virus expert Zhong Nanshan suggested this weekend in state-media border control might relax when 80 to 85 percent of the 1.4 billion Chinese citizens are vaccinated, expected at the end of this year and diverts from the current zero-transmission policy.
Journalist Ian Johnson will become a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) from July 1, 2021, the council announced. At the China Speakers Bureau, we are happy to see Ian in such a prestigious position after what has been a turbulent year, both personally as professionally.
China might be ready to open its borders again partially in the second half of 2022, says leading virus expert Zhang Wenhong on a health forum in Qingdao in June, according to the South China Morning Post. That partial opening will depend on the speed of China’s vaccination program, he added.
In a remarkable candid comment, director Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, admitted on Saturday the fairly low efficiency of one of the larger Chinese vaccines Sinovac Biotech, even lower than 50%, according to Reuters. Even before that, leading expert Zhang Wenhong estimated China could only open up to international travel by the Spring of 2022.