It's time for On-Point, where we speak to experts to delve deeper into key issues in the spotlight right now. While the rest of the world has eased most COVID-19 measures, China is sticking firmly to its zero-COVID policies.
The government insists that their policy is the best measure to make sure, hundreds of thousands of its citizens don't succumb to the virus. But, how much further can they go to implement these measures? We connect with Ben Cowling, Chair Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Hong Kong. Good morning to you professor.
First off, a peer reviewed study published by Shanghai's Fudan University in the Nature journal says that if the government lifts its zero-COVID policy, the country could see upwards of 1.55 million deaths. This is due to the low vaccination rate among the elderly population. Why is there a low vaccination rate among the elderly?
China's zero-COVID policy is among the strictest in the world, if not, THE strictest. Why can't China just make vaccination mandatory among senior citizens, considering they're already imposing extremely strict measures?
The WHO chief said last week that China's zero-COVID policy is unsustainable considering the behavior of the virus now. What's your take on his assessment?
Despite its earlier success, the zero-COVID policy is seemingly flawed. How do you suppose China should adjust to the current situation? What would be the best method moving forward, if, let's say you were in charge implementing measures in China?
Just shifting away from China for the time being. South Korea is set to lift its 7-day mandatory quarantine soon. How have other countries that have already lifted this measure fared afterwards?
Thank you, Professor Cowling for your insights. We'll speak to you again next week.