For China, the last week of 2021 encountered the worst epidemic since the epidemic was basically controlled in mid-2020. In the past seven days, although the Chinese authorities have taken the most severe measures, the total number of new cases has climbed to the highest point in the weekly statistics in the past two years.
The National Health Commission of China reported on Saturday that 175 cases of symptomatic viral infections were confirmed the day before (December 31, 2021). The number of newly confirmed cases reached 1,151 in the past week.
This round of the epidemic counterattack mainly occurred in Xi’an, an important industrial and technological town in Northwest China. The worsening of the epidemic situation in Xi’an prompted the local government to take severe measures to stop the spread of the virus as soon as possible. As of Saturday, this large city with a population of 13 million has been closed for ten days. Since December 9, Xi’an has confirmed a total of 1,451 local infections (China does not include asymptomatic cases in the statistics), which is the largest number of cases among all cities in China in 2021.
Although the number of new cases in China is insignificant compared to many countries in the world, it poses a huge challenge to the Chinese government. Right now, Beijing’s central task is to ensure that the Winter Olympics are held smoothly next month, which is of extraordinary importance to the Chinese Communist Party, which is trapped in unprecedented international isolation. In addition, the CCP will hold a five-year party congress this year. The meeting will decide whether Xi Jinping can serve as the third party leader. If the epidemic goes out of control again, Xi Jinping will lose the legitimacy to continue to be the top leader of the Chinese Communist Party.
So far, China has not found widespread transmission of Omicron virus strain. Recently, only a few Omicron cases have been detected in China, and the others are all cases of the Delta strain.
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China has always adhered to the zero-zero anti-epidemic policy, and this is even more true now. According to observers, since August, China has tried to control the epidemic in about two weeks, which is much shorter than the four to six weeks required to control the epidemic in the past.
Under strong political pressure, the Xi’an authorities took strict precautions, prohibited anyone from leaving their residences, blocked all traffic, and reproduced the various humanitarian disasters that occurred in the lockdown of Wuhan. As the supply of basic living materials such as food and vegetables cannot keep up, more and more Xi’an residents complain online that no one pays attention to food ordering online, and people can’t get out. They are all “starved to death”.