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Has China’s zero-COVID strategy gone too far?

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China is coming under pressure to abandon its severe COVID-zero policy, but the nation’s low vaccination rate means the solution isn’t straightforward

China’s largest city Shanghai has been suffering under one of the most brutal lockdowns the world has seen.

Strict measures in the city have extended for over a month and are making global headlines.

Widespread reports of people trapped in their homes without food and medical supplies have emerged from the city.

At the same time the nations economy is struggling to cope with severe COVID-19 measures, as international exports dropped to their lowest level in two years.

Fenced up houses in Shanghai

In recent weeks the calls to abandon China’s COVID-zero policy have reached thunderous levels.

So why is the nation persisting with its policy?

South China Correspondent Primrose Riordan tells Ticker NEWS the crux of the issue lies with China’s low vaccination rate.

“The disaster that could … happen as a result of veering away from the zero COVID policy at the moment, could be widespread deaths among the elderly population,” she says.

According to Riordan, there are very low vaccination rates among China’s elderly population, and the nation is struggling with “some serious vaccine hesitancy”.

In some cases people with underlying health conditions have been advised by doctors to not get vaccinated.

The resulting low vaccination rate coupled with the fact most of the population has had limited exposure to the virus raises the possibility that lifting the COVID-19 protocols could lead to a significantly high number of deaths, as seen in Hong Kong in March this year.

Because of this, Riordan says you can see why the Chinese government is maintaining its stance.

“The mystery at the moment is, of course, why they’re not upping the vaccination rate among the elderly, which would allow for a smooth route out of zero COVID,” she says.

Route out of lockdown

A number of nations around the world have attempted to implement similar zero-COVID strategies at different points in time.

Australia for example, implemented a number of strict lockdowns, but abandoned the strategy as vaccine rates increased above 80 percent and containment became more difficult as more contagious variants swept across the globe.

Riordan says China’s initial pursuit of COVID-zero was understandable.

“At least while there was such deaths in the rest of the world, China was spared that,” she says.

For her, China’s problem is to find a way to combat supply issues and find a way to move away from the strict COVID-zero policy.

“They have made a lot of measures to try and up those vaccination rates. But it has been, like fairly slow,” she says.

South China Correspondent for the Financial Times, Primrose Riordan, says it’s a mystery why this hasn’t been pushed more harshly.

“If you’re making staying at home compulsory, you’re wondering why vaccination wasn’t compulsory,”

she says.

Elsewhere in China, the fallout from the recent Hong Kong elections continues

John Lee was elected executive chairman on May 8, amid widespread speculation over the legitimacy of the selection process.

Riordan says the process was not necessarily an election in the western sense and that this is the way that they’re going to choose their leaders going into the future, because Beijing wants a lot more control of the process.

“Even in the past, they used to have at least… some sort of contender, or some sort of an other option that some of the Hong Kong elites might have voted for,” she says.

“This time obviously, the government wanted as much control of the process as possible.”

Riordan says the main issue moving forward is whether Lee will prioritise Hong Kong as a financial center.

Recently Hong Kong has had to follow Beijing’s COVID-zero policy, effectively separating the city from international businesses.

“When you’re choosing a security hardliner, rather than… somebody with a more financial background, it’s yet to be seen what policies he’s going to bring forward in terms of preserving that status of Hong Kong.”

she says

“I guess the policies going forward for international business would be the next thing to watch in Hong Kong,” she says.

Bryan Hoadley contributed to this article

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Ford’s all-electric plan for Europe proves too challenging to achieve by 2030

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Ford has revised its plan to go fully electric in Europe by 2030, admitting it was too ambitious.

Originally aiming to transition entirely to electric vehicles, the automaker now plans to continue producing some internal combustion engine vehicles alongside electric ones.

Mike Costello from Cox Automotive joins for the latest. #featured

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Democrats scramble to rally behind Harris as Trump allies launch next phase of campaign

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Biden Withdraws: President Joe Biden Ends Reelection Bid, Endorses Kamala Harris.

 

After weeks of battling to salvage his political career – claiming he wouldn’t be stepping down after a disastrous debate performance – the president’s sudden change of course was not announced through an Oval Office address or a campaign speech. Instead, it was revealed in a letter posted to social media while he was recovering from Covid-19 at his beach house in Delaware.

“And while it has been my intention to seek reelection, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term,” Biden wrote in a letter posted to X.

Harris expressed her gratitude for Biden’s endorsement, stating she is “honoured” and committed to “earning and winning” the nomination. Should she secure the nomination, Harris would make history as the first Black woman and first Asian American to lead the ticket of a major political party. To facilitate her candidacy, the Biden-Harris campaign has updated its filings with the Federal Election Commission, renaming its principal committee to reflect Harris’s new status as a presidential candidate.

Despite Biden’s support, the path forward remains uncertain. It is unclear whether Harris will automatically become the nominee or what alternative processes the Democratic Party might consider. Additionally, sources suggest that Senator Joe Manchin, an independent from West Virginia, is contemplating re-registering as a Democrat to enter the presidential race.

In response to Biden’s withdrawal, former President Donald Trump criticised Biden as “the worst president by far in the history of our country” during a call with CNN. Trump has also launched a fundraising appeal to rally his supporters.

 

 

 

 

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Trump allies launch campaign against Kamala Harris as he boasts an easier victory

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Donald Trump has said he thinks Kamala Harris will be easier to beat than Joe Biden.

With Biden out, Trump’s campaign will now adjust its strategy, focusing on attacking Harris and any other possible Democratic candidates. They aim to convince voters that Harris would be just as ineffective as Biden.

Biden faced growing doubts about his ability to win re-election, especially after a weak debate performance against Trump. Some Democrats also lost confidence in his leadership, leading him to step down.

Donald Trump said he thinks Kamala Harris will be easier to defeat than Biden. Trump and his team quickly began attacking both Biden and Harris online, claiming that Biden was not fit to be president and that Harris would be just as bad.

Allies of former President Donald Trump quickly launched their campaign against Vice President Kamala Harris on Sunday afternoon, preparing a series of anti-Harris ads and planning their strategies for attacking her.

“I call her laughing Kamala,” Trump told the crowd, during his nearly two-hour appearance. “You can tell a lot by a laugh. She’s crazy. She’s nuts.”

 

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