The notion - oft-repeated in western media - that China has successfully managed to bring COVID to heel using the tools unique to an authoritarian state couldn't be further from the truth. Earlier this month, leaked CCP documents revealed that China's leadership has commanded local officials to be on alert for another large-scale COVID outbreak, before ordering them to complete two tasks:
One is to build central isolation sites, with local authorities required by the end of October to create facilities of not less than 20 rooms per 10,000 people.
The second: the scale of each isolation site must be more than 100 rooms.
But that's not all. As outbreaks continue to flare up across the world's most populous country, Beijing has warned that local officials should prepare for COVID outbreaks flaring up in certain areas to get even worse in the coming days, and that the virus might spread to affect more cities in towns across China.
In an attempt to get ahead of the next major COVID wave (potentially driven by the delta variant or its "sub-variant" delta-plus) local media reports cited by Bloomberg attest that China has started giving COVID jabs to children as young as three, despite the fact that China has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with 75% of its 1.4 billion people already vaccinated.
Multiple places across China are rolling out vaccines to children aged between three and 11, according to reports in local media. The shots, developed by homegrown drugmakers Sinovac Biotech Ltd and state-owned Sinopharm, have already been administered to those aged 12 and above, with the country green-lighting their use in those aged over three in June.
Compare this to the US, where President Biden (guided by his top advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci) is pushing for FDA approval of jabs for children as young as 5 (recent data showed jabs are "safe" for children between ages of 5 and 11) by the end of the year (despite the fact that serious infections involving young, healthy children are extremely rare).
But China's decision to expand its vaccination program (with its own home-made vaccines that just aren't as effective as their foreign peers) comes as the CCP braces for another even more deadly round of COVID infections.
The moves come as China tries to quash what has become a 'whack-a-mole' series of flareups across its vast territory, with flareups of the virus coming more frequently than they did before delta arrived. Beijing remains committed to its "zero-tolerance" COVID strategy, which has kept its borders closed and heavy handed quarantines in place even as its peers roll back most of their COVID limitations.
In other words, let this be a warning: China has always been a step ahead when it comes to managing the virus that they unleashed upon the world. If they're taking these types of precautions, they're more than likely doing it for a reason.