Lessons from other countries’ experiences suggest herd immunity would not be a realistic goal for China, says this academic.

Women wearing face masks visit a public park in Beijing, Jan 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

GLASGOW: After nearly three years of keeping COVID-19 under control, China is experiencing a massive new wave of COVID-19 infections. The official figures reporting 60,000 deaths between Dec 8, 2022 and Jan 12 are widely seen as underestimating the impact of the outbreak.

Until December 2022, China had used lockdown policies to reduce the opportunity for COVID-19 spread in the hope of eliminating the virus or building up enough population immunity through vaccination. The exceptionally strict zero-COVID policy was very successful in stopping the virus’ spread while the world faced returning deadly waves.

However, the prolonged lockdowns eventually became politically and economically unsustainable.