Tulio de Oliveira, a scientist who was among the first to warn of the worldwide spread of the Omicron variant, said that China’s zero-Covid measure would not work.

The new warning came on Dec. 25 after the rigor in epidemic prevention in Xi’an city, Shaanxi province, China, is estimated to be close to the severe regulations that were applied to Wuhan in early 2020.

Xi’an has locked down 13 million people since Dec. 22. According to the regulations of the blockade order, each family in Xi’an is only allowed to send one family member out every two days to buy necessities and cannot leave the city without permission.

Long-distance bus stations have been closed, disease control stations have been set up on highways, 85% of flights to and from Xi’an have been suspended, and the number of buses and trains in the city streets were cut, and schools were closed. 

Tulio de Oliveira, director of the South African Center for Epidemiological Response and Innovation (CERI), warned that these measures would not be effective against the Omicron strain of COVID-19 and that China would face great difficulties if the policy of “zero-Covid” is continued.

The expert advised that China should follow the same anti-epidemic approach as other countries.

Under the zero-Covid policy, Beijing seeks to limit COVID-19 infections to manageable levels by locking down a region if one COVID-19 case is found and subjecting all people in the area to PCR tests.

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