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Sports, Tianjin

China keeps virus at bay at high cost ahead of Olympics

BEIJING (AP) — The Beizhong International Travel Agency in the eastern city of Tianjin has had only one customer since coronavirus outbreaks that began in July prompted Chinese leaders to renew city lockdowns and travel controls.

9/21/2021 7:15:00 AM

China 's “zero tolerance” strategy of trying to isolate every case and stop transmission of the coronavirus has kept the country where the virus first was detected largely free of the disease. But the public and businesses are paying a steep price.

BEIJING (AP) — The Beizhong International Travel Agency in the eastern city of Tianjin has had only one customer since coronavirus outbreaks that began in July prompted Chinese leaders to renew city lockdowns and travel controls.

China’s “zero tolerance” strategy of trying to isolate every case and stop transmission has helped keep the country where the virus first was detected in late 2019 largely free of disease. But the public and businesses are paying a steep price.Foreign athletes are due to compete in the Winter Olympics that start Feb. 4 in Beijing and the nearby city of Zhangjiakou, but the government has yet to say whether restrictions that prevent most foreigners from entering China will be relaxed to allow spectators in.

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ADVERTISEMENT“Two years ago, this was our busiest season,” said the Beizhong agency manager, Wang Hui.“Now, customers tend to postpone their plans because of the outbreaks,” Wang said. “This year is worse than last year.”China is closed to most foreign visitors and discourages its own public from traveling.

The government has yet to give final details on anti-coronavirus measures for the Winter Games. Some 2,900 athletes are due to compete, plus 800 more in the Paralympic Winter Games on March 4-13.China has reported 4,636 deaths — and none since February — out of 95,577 cases since early 2020. Its total is smaller than one-day new infection figures in the United States, India and some other countries.

Since July, outbreaks blamed on travelers bringing the more contagious delta variant into the country have occurred in Nanjing west of Shanghai, Putian and Xiamen in the southeast and Yunnan province in the southwest. But cases number in the dozens, not the tens of thousands of new daily infections seen in other countries.

“The zero-tolerance policy has been highly effective in putting COVID under control, but the short-term cost is also extremely high,” economists Larry Hu and Xinyu Ji of Macquarie said in a report.China was the only major economy to grow last year after the ruling party declared the virus under control in March and allowed factories, shops and offices to reopen. Output in the United States, Europe and Japan contracted.

Economic output rose 1.3% over the previous quarter in the three months ending in June, better than 0.6% in January-March but among the past decade’s weakest quarters.The International Monetary Fund and private sector forecasters have lowered economic growth forecasts but still expect output to rise by as much as 8.5% this year, up sharply from last year’s multi-decade low of 2.3% and well above the ruling party target of “more than 6%.”

ADVERTISEMENTExports in August rose 25.6% over a year earlier, but retail spending growth slowed to 2.5% from July’s 8.5%.“People are clearly worried that they could get trapped in tourist destinations if Covid cases emerge,” economist Iris Pang of ING said in a report.

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Authorities on Sept. 12 suspended most access to Putian, a city of 2.9 million people in Fujian province, after an outbreak that an official newspaper, Global Times, said might have begun with a resident who returned from Singapore. Cinemas, bars and other public facilities were closed. Supermarkets and restaurants were ordered to limit customer numbers.

Xiamen, a coastal business center in Fujian with 3.5 million people, closed off access to some neighborhoods after cases were detected there. Schools shut down.An entrepreneur who sells shoes made in Putian online said the outbreak and anti-disease controls have shut down that local industry.

“Customers are urging us to deliver goods, but factories have stopped working,” said the merchant, Su Ye. She said September and October usually are busy, but disruptions in production and delivery “will cause orders to drop a lot.”“Many orders were canceled because of our slow delivery,” Su said.

The Global Times said a man who returned from Singapore on Aug. 4 was suspected of spreading the virus to Putian.The traveler, identified by the surname Lin, underwent a 14-day quarantine and nine nucleic acid and serologic tests, all of which were negative, the Global Times said. But he tested positive on Sept. 10.

Despite that, the screening and quarantine process is working properly, according to Yu Changping, a physician at the Department of Respiratory Medicine of People’s Hospital of Wuhan University.“There is no special change in the situation,” said Yu. “There is no need to adopt measures different from the past.”

Some experts suggest China might need to adopt more flexible tactics because “zero tolerance” is too disruptive and new variants might be impossible to eradicate.“The bottom line is, I don’t think they can keep the virus out, and they need to live with the reality,” said Nicholas Thomas, a professor of health security at the City University of Hong Kong.

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Chinese leaders have tried to squelch public discussion of such a possible change.A prominent disease expert, Zhang Wenzhong, faced official criticism after he said on his widely read social media account the world needs to “learn to coexist with the virus.”

A former health minister rejected Zhang’s suggestion in a commentary published by the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily. The university that awarded Zhang’s PhD in 2000 announced an investigation of accusations of plagiarism but concluded his work “met all the criteria” for the degree.

For now, tourist arrivals from abroad are shut down. That has devastated high-end hotels and resorts.Some engineers and other employees who were abroad when the government shut down travel in early 2020 have been allowed to return, but lawyers and others say they were turned away.

Authorities also are trying to keep Chinese from leaving the country. The government refuses to issue or renew passports without an important need to travel. Businesspeople have been told that doesn’t include visiting customers or business partners.The government announced last week it had vaccinated just over 1 billion people, or 71% of its population.

But while regulators have given emergency approval to nine coronavirus vaccines, most are made by local companies Sinopharm or Sinovac. China has yet to approve BioNTech, Moderna or other vaccines used abroad.“As far as the vaccine strategy is, it’s been very successful, the trouble is the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are not very efficacious against delta,” Thomas said.

As is true elsewhere, online grocers and other e-commerce have reaped a windfall from shutdowns and lockdowns.But a wave of bankruptcies has hit small shops, restaurants and other businesses.China’s populous domestic market means travel restrictions “do not impact it as much as countries such as Thailand that depend heavily on tourism,” said Trinh Nguyen of Natixis, a French financial firm, in an email.

In another blow to tourism, the government told students and teachers to avoid travel during September’s Mid-Autumn Festival and the Oct. 1-7 National Day break.“There used to be a silver September and a golden October for travel, but now we have nothing,” said Wang, the travel agency manager in Tianjin.

People suffering from cancer, heart disease and other chronic, potentially life-threatening conditions, meanwhile have struggled to get treatment as hospitals shut down other departments to focus on treating coronavirus patients or refused to accept cases deemed non-emergency.

___Wu reported from Taipei. AP researchers Yu Bing in Beijing and Chen Si in Shanghai contributed. Read more: The Associated Press »

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I don't fucking care about businesses when people are dying. Imagine the freedom killed 600,000 people in the US, while lockdown in China for small period of time didnt affect lots things. I went back to China later last year, everything was back to normal already. I went to shopping, parks,and travel to other provinces.Take a beer~freedom

Human lives vs. Money, which one is more important? In the United States, even if 10 million people died in Covid-19, no official was held accountable. Politicians hope that the elderly before the age of 65 will die as soon as possible through Covid-19. This is the human rights of the United States. I heard that Americans are bad at math, but it still shocked me. Can't Americans figure out which is more important, money or life?600000 deaths still don't wake you up.

I think nothing is more precious than life. Don't americans think so? For the country which feels no shame about 676,000+ COVID-19 deaths, it is indeed difficult to understand China’s zero tolerance strategy. With a steep price is how China values people’s lives. American people deserve better than white flags planted in the National Mall.

In fact, they illegally used their evil-spirited practices 2make me use t/bathroom on myself like we all witnessed they did2 'special needs' young man. We also witnessed 1/of them o/their app playing w/young white female's rear-end. She yelled out, 'leave my a-- alone.' But not the steep price of being as dead as the nearly 1 million Americans tho🤷‍♀️

USCongress; POTUS; SCOTUS; TheJusticeDept; DepartmentofJ; LegalServicesUS; CNN; NBC; M/x's I've informed u I'm being 'stalked.' T/morning, t/same thing w/s/cars. Espec'lly, white cargo van followed m/2gas station. When I left broom, same van (VA UMC 3154) p/outside 2/w/m. SB

Universal Studios Beijing draws eager throngs amid uneasy U.S.-China tiesThe Beijing theme park will be the first Universal Studios resort with a section dedicated to the movie 'Kung Fu Panda' and includes an area based on the Harry Potter franchise, which is popular in China nice So Covid spread continues in China? WHCOVIDResponse

'But the public and businesses are paying a steep price.' [sic] What a joke... Not sure why our Western press keep on feigning than temp lockdowns with contact tracing and mass testing is costlier than 600+k deaths and zero control on the epidemic. You used to cover the tough stories: what happened? Let’s help China! Boycott Olympics, kill Muslims, ignore treaties, invade nations and claim entire seas! Boycott the Olympics in Beijing!

This is what republicunts think they’re going through 😂😂 How much did the people republic of China pay you for this tweet? I mean always one to find a negative. Hello, they have one of the biggest populations in the world and they’re doing better than everyone else. I’m all in for some China bashing but come on.

AP: I've been informed r 3/levels of government regarding my 'stolen identity, my storage being burglarized 2times, money taken/duplicated bank card f/my previous bank account, & fraud at Walmart (someone went in person 2Walmart/opened an account & purchased iPhone in my name.).. It has an impact on the economy, but most people live a normal life and are not worried about infection. People in isolation can also receive treatment quickly. There are almost no deaths. LifeMoney

Wait, does Beijing have winter weather? And didn’t Beijing JUST host a summer Olympics 🤔 I very seriously doubt China is keeping the virus 'at bay.'

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Zero tolerance strategy of China to keep the COVID-19 virus and variants at bay is an excellent idea and strategy. It is excellent for Chinese people and globally. Must stop spreading By diverse strategies and creativity. Professor Isagholian, virology and immunology China economy has grown 24% in 2021...

And they’re all gonna get it anyway Chinese Communist Party’s methods of treating the pandemic did more damage to people than the virus itself. And in China, if you don’t want to treat by injecting liquid herb, you need to ask and pay doctor in private for the real treatment. ...anyone who peddles CCP-China's Wuhan virus narrative is probably paid by the communist. Zero case my ass.

1.87 billion domestic trips in first half of 2021China

The AP Interview: UN chief warns China, US to avoid Cold WarUNITED NATIONS (AP) — Warning of a potential new Cold War, the head of the United Nations implored China and the United States to repair their “completely dysfunctional” relationship before problems between the two large and deeply influential countries spill over even further into the rest of the planet. It sounds like a distraction. Washington wants to dictate to UNGA

European markets set for higher open despite nerves over China; Fed meeting aheadEuropean stocks are expected to open higher on Tuesday, bouncing back from heightened investor nerves over a Chinese property developer. wow TRADE WAR NEVER ENDED. IT STILL GONG ON!!! China vs the world... we find out who the winner soon . FED sweating...

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