China Vows ‘Final Victor’ As Covid Surge Triggers Alarm Globally

New Delhi: Global health officials tried to determine the facts about the Covid outbreak in China and how to prevent a further spread as the Communist Party’s mouthpiece newspaper on Wednesday rallied citizens for a “final victory” over the virus, as reported by the news agency Reuters.

China’s move of removing its stringent virus curbs last month has allowed Covid to take its toll on a 1.4 billion population with little natural immunity left after being shielded from the virus since it emerged in Wuhan three years ago. Many funeral homes and hospitals say they are overwhelmed, and international health experts predict at least one million deaths in China this year, Reuters reported.

China has reported five or fewer deaths a day since the policy U-turn. “That is totally ridiculous,” 66-year-old Beijing resident who only gave his last name Zhang said of the official death toll, as quoted by Reuters.

“Four of my close relatives died. That’s only from one family. I hope the government will be honest with the people and the rest of the world about what’s happened here.”

China has rejected international skepticism of its statistics and termed them as politically motivated attempts to smear its achievements in fighting the virus. Amid mounting international restrictions on travellers from China due to a surge in Covid cases, Beijing on Tuesday called the curbs “unacceptable” and warned of “countermeasures” in response, AFP reported. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said some countries have imposed entry restrictions “targeting only Chinese travellers”.

The United States, Canada, France, and Japan are among a dozen countries that now require travellers from China to show a negative Covid test report before arrival. “China and the Chinese people will surely win the final victory against the epidemic,” the People’s Daily, Reuters reported citing an editorial in the Communist Party’s official newspaper. The newspaper rebutted criticism of China’s three years of isolation, lockdowns, and testing that triggered historic protests late last year.

“Some countries have taken entry restrictions targeting only Chinese travellers. This lacks scientific basis and some practices are unacceptable,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a regular briefing. Ning also warned that China could “take countermeasures based on the principle of reciprocity”. India has made a negative RT-PCR report must for passengers arriving in India from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand. A negative Covid report has also been made mandatory for passengers transiting through these countries.

(With Reuters Inputs)