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China censors zero-Covid debate after WHO criticizes policy

Covid testing • Xiayi, Henan Province, China • May 10, 2022

China’s censors scrambled to wipe out online debate over its zero-Covid strategy on Wednesday after the World Health Organisation (WHO) criticised the country’s hardline approach to crushing the virus.

China is the last major economy glued to a zero-Covid policy and enforces some of the most stringent virus controls anywhere in the world.

Those restrictions have trapped most of Shanghai’s 25 million people in a lockdown with no clear end date, while Beijing has also gradually corralled many of its residents indoors as it battles its biggest outbreak since the pandemic began.

On Tuesday WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged China to change tack, saying the approach “will not be sustainable” in the face of new fast-spreading variants. The intervention prompted China’s army of internet censors to race to snuff out his comments.

Searches for the hashtags “#Tedros#”

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