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tv   To the point - Olympic struggle Can China beat Omicron  Deutsche Welle  January 21, 2022 6:30am-7:01am CET

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i every day counts for us and for our planet. global ideas is on its way to bring you more conservation. how do we make cities, reader, how can we protect habitat, what to do with them all our ways? we can make a difference by choosing smartness solutions over stains, said in our ways global ideas. the environmental theories included $3000.00 on d, w, and online in the winter olympics in beijing, i'll looming, ever closer and china is being put to the text as it battles to contain. outbreaks
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of the highly contagious ami chrome strain of coping 19 china has adopted a 0 covert policy. that means strict restrictions in public life in many parts of the country. so is it working or might backfire? on to the point we ask, olympic struggle can china beat on the chrome? ah, well, thanks very much for joining us here today on the show in the studio with me is so g fun brunner some from d w's asia desk. she said a 0 coven policy might have benefited china in the last 2 years. but army kron ambia lympics could be a game changer. also with us is to be us caught a professor of public health at berlin's charity hospital. he argues nothing can stop me. crohn, it can only be slowed down and warm. welcome to to science journalists,
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ty cook for schmidt, essays with much of the country vaccinated. the question of what an exit from 0 cove it in china code and should look like looms launch. thank you for being here. all 3 of you. thank you for those interesting comments. lots to talk about. so let's get on with it sir. so g, the eyes of the world on bay gene, that's for sure. the stakes are high. what is your feeling? is a large scale outbreak of the on the conveyor and likely in china in the near future . i think because the high transmission rate of, on the con, it's something very new. china's dealing with at the moment. and i think china will do everything in its power to try and contain and not lead to an outbreak during the olympics. ah, as well as we kind of have a perfect storm situation because we have the lu, not chinese lunar new year. that is on the 1st of february, which is usually the period of high as migration in china. and even though the
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chinese government has advised everyone to stay at home and not trouble, and they are taking a lot of precautions for the olympics, they're fencing off all facilities and athletes are being ferried to the campers and having every day a test. and if you're vaccinated, you don't need to current teen, but all the precautions are in place. but i think with every single army kron case that arrives in china, every single case will we, can she, jim pings a 0 cove it policy? and i think that in the future we can, as you said before, we can only slow down on a cron mud. i think china will stick as with the 0 cleavage policy, for as long as it can occur. accomplishment either i just wonder, you know, a lot of people must be listening to this kind of these kinds of comments looking
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at the situation. the moment i'm wondering why on earth is, is an event like the olympics being staged with all of this time in, in this place? it's a good question. i think, i mean, of course, from the chinese perspective, i think it's also, it's, it's an opportunity to prove to the world, you know, the superiority of the chinese approach to, to source covey to m. a. i do think we are in this phase of the pandemic now, where these questions about what can, how much can we go back to normal life? what are the things that we, you know, that, that we can do? and can we do them safely? is, is an important question and i've always been a little bit skeptical of, you know, risk mitigation being basically avoiding all risk. right? i mean, the question is, how do you stage an event like the like the beijing olympics, and how do you try to do it in the safest way possible. and i mean that the bigger question that i have really is, how long can
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a country keep the 0 covert strategy up? and i think it's not completely clear at the moment because there are some questions about our micron. how much more transmissible is it really than delta? we don't really know that we know it's much better at infecting people who have some immunity, but that doesn't mean that the virus itself is more transmissible necessarily. and so, you know, i think what we've learned in this pandemic again and again, is that politicians policy makers need to be very flexible. they need to look at the data, they need to be able to, to navigate of constantly changing environment. and i think what you just said that china is going to hold on to this policy as long as possible. i think that in itself is a bit of a danger, because really, you want to be flexible. you want to be nimble. you want to act fast and also give up these policies when it becomes clear that they are causing more hurt. and then they're actually contributing to the public health in a country like china. and i think that those are the big questions for 2022. what do you have to add professor quote to those are in terms of hard data information
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to the, to the questions that you can call permission to just asking for data important. we don't, we don't know the data from china. i'm sure china's collecting data like crazy, but the public doesn't know much about it, so it's 0 cove, it's obviously failed because of each one has arrived in china. so the smallest read of g like as little as possible until the olympics for sure. but even during this is a china admitting that it has failed here. so certainly not, i mean the restrictions are massive and they, they try their best to keep it quiet and down as much as possible. but loud unit, limbic many people come to china, there will be clusters within the d athletes group journalists, as we see now with the handle european championship, no matter what measure you do, and germany, i think has group had good measures. and 13 for 5 years. is that correct? that is, that is not gonna work. okay, we talked about it already. so let's take a closer look at china's a 0 covey approach, which is under pressure to put it mildly. ah,
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this is what time is 0 cov it strategy looks like even with just a few known corona virus cases. the government is imposing strict curfews for whole metropolis is comprised of millions of people. it's an extreme locked down. the effect of cities will be sealed off and residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for daily cove tests and shopping. if that the policy is strict but effective. china claims to have the lowest infection rate in the world until now. their 1st omicron cases were reported in early january, and authorities are deeply concerned because china and evac vaccine doesn't seem to offer much protection against the armor con variant. the winter olympics are just around the corner, which means that tens of thousands of foreign athletes, officials and journalists will soon be entering the country. they are supposed to enter a strict quarantine upon arrival,
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separating them from the rest of the population. but experts still wonder will there be a massive outbreak of the omicron variant in china? one of those experts is to be as coordinate, just want to come back to that question. do you think they can keep a lid on how concrete can you be about not for long. i think the only chron variance has shown to be so transmissible in other countries. and that will also happen in china. you can slow it down, but i don't think you can, you can really storage them. well, these are the most measures that we can think of right now. and i agree with like a fish meant that that it's, it's, it's hardly measurable that you can keep this for 4 months to really keep it down. it won't be possible. so at one point i expect to see erase in cases in china. guy, what do we, what do we know about on the column? what do we need to know? i think one thing that sometimes gets a little bit lost it, we just saw it in the clip. you know, that, that the vaccines don't seem to offer
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a lot of protection against on a crown. i think was the, the phrase. you really have to look closely at that. what, what that means is protection from infection. we do think that the best, the, all, the vaccines that we have at the moment do of a significant roof protection from severe disease and from death. and that's really, really important because while the virus spreading like wildfire through china would still be a huge issue in terms of disruption to work. and all of these things, the hope is that it wouldn't lead to the kind of wave of death that we've seen in other countries earlier. and so i think it is important to realize that, you know, we're talking a lot now about the potential risk for china in 2022. but they are in an enviable position. in some ways. i mean, they have managed to whether this pandemic, a lot better than a lot of other countries have. they have avoided these big waves and whatever happens now, they are not looking at the kind of death wave that we've seen in spain and italy in the us in the u. k. and, but you need to be able to also shift from that strategy at some point because
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otherwise, you can really be creating a lot of hurt in, in those moments where you're clinging on to a policy that maybe at that point isn't really know with, well, i mean, if you imagine that on the cross start spreading and the only answer that the government has is to lock down more and more places for longer and longer. and then those are those a huge side effects that you're basically willing to, to, to have the public suffer in order to keep the virus from spreading. but at some point, of course, the risk of as far as spreading might actually be lower. it is the risk in terms of public health. the political risk is of course a different one in that, just like we're seeing in the u. k at the moment with bar, as johnson lifting all restrictions. i think, you know, whenever you look around the world, you have to look at the politics in these countries. you're within the country to understand a little bit. why is certain decisions are being made? it's not just the scientific evidence, as we all know, the surgery, what do you know? what can you tell us? i know it's quite, i know it's difficult,
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but what can you tell us about how the or the chinese people are responding to all this uncertainty about what sort of knowledge they haven't though, disposal what, what, how the government to sort of working with somehow whether the government's priorities to people, all the games. these are very difficult questions. i think in general, um, most chinese people do support the government, the decision to keep a 0 covered as strategy. and i think china has, in accordance with its knowledge of its health system, it's set up. okay, that policies which will suit its health care system. and currently most hospitals in china, for example, in shanghai, it's, we haven't even seen many cases of only con, but the hospital is already burdened with too many patients. and so the main priority of currently, of the 0 covet strategy is china knows that its hospitals nationwide will not
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have the capacity at the moment, ma'am, if are there corona virus or where t and hadn't weighs as we had here in europe. so the current vaccine, the china is using simply won't work against the, against the new variance over and it, but it, but it has to work the chinese or the chinese government got a really big problem there. well, potentially, yes. and so it's kind of pushing that, like, do we expect not that many severe cases, but if you have many people getting infected, then if the likelihood is lower that you gets civil infected still, a lot of people will get severely infected, vaccinated or not. so it's, it's a one has to stay flexible, really, when i sustain more than what's the situation more dynamically and then act. so just as having one strategy for as long as possible is very difficult to communicate. and, and i also think that the suffering of the population in terms of public health
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consequences outside of the viral infection will be severe in china. how much of a threat is this to the credibility of she jing things, chinese leader? i think that her china can withhold, for example, if there is there an outbreak, i think for one month of quarantine, ah, we can predict that china and their population will be able to deal with it for one month. but you know, if it carries on and the virus spreads and then we have entire cities and ports in locked down of more than 6 months or leading up to 6 months. people will definitely get frustrated and people will lose their jobs. and companies are global supply chains will be hit. and i think her, of course, the she, j pink government also wants to keep people happy with the government and they know that anything beyond one month of locked down,
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i will definitely get people very frustrated at to was the central government as a journalist where do you, where do you see that situation leading? you go because of the problem with locked down, that the threat to the economy. you've got the public health for it has are going to be knitted together or how is it going to impact china in a, in a, in a, in a, in a drastic way potentially. yeah, i mean, i do think that this year, at some point we are going to see a massive impact on china. whether it is because of, you know, the, the public health restrictions that are put in place in order to, to keep on the conference reading or because army kron spreads. i think at least in the future, when we look back, i feel like a lot will depend on how well china is preparing for plan b. i mean, given the, the very clear is that only kron is going to spread. the question is, what are people doing? what does the government doing to prepare for that eventuality? what do we know there? i, i honestly couldn't say i,
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i haven't been following enough for what's being said in china. i think at the moment all that i'm hearing is still we are committed to the 0 covered policy, but i think it would be ludicrous if people weren't in the background. you know, gaming out. okay, what can we do if this really spreads? how do we keep the disruption low? how do we make sure hospitals are staffed? how do we make sure if there is a big influx of patients with severe disease? how do we deal with that? that is really what, what, what people are going to judge the chinese government, you know, actions in 2022 on i think. and what, what, what do you think her to, to best quarter about what, what does this tell us about sort of other similar events in the, in the, in the future like bonus lead football matches in germany or the carnival in rio, or all these large scale events that are so important for humanity. well, i think we need to understand what is actually happening, collecting data meaningfully and not just are comparing cases to nothing. so i
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think we really need to be flexible. you can compare a strategy in one country and bring into another country that works. so we in germany, have to decide what is, what is our measure, where we say ok, go how many infections or how many c, b infections after a soccer game, football game, we accept. so that's something we need to discuss. but like keeping everything away from the people for a long time, won't work. ok. the on the conference is spreading at a pretty much a unprecedented rate at the same time though, people in some places, at least some countries, at least again out enjoying packed bars and back streets. how does that work indeed, does it work? let's have a quick look. the oma con variant is giving researchers reasons to be both concerned and hopeful. they're worried because the virus is much more contagious than its predecessors. they're hopeful because it also appears to be less severe by comparison. germany's leading biologist predicts that the disease will become
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a controllable, endemic rather than a prolonged pandemic. is an addition to fund we already us back, or that we will reach this endemic state or virtually reach it by the end of the year active doll. he says the prerequisite for this is vaccinating and boosting the elderly and other at risk communities. that's already the case in israel, where the government has lifted nearly all grown of virus restrictions. despite an increase infection numbers, life on the streets appears to be getting back to normal. in spain, people wear masks voluntarily. large parades like this one, as well as restaurant visits are all possible without restrictions. just how dangerous is omicron c that is the big question guy called fish mit. i mean we see people out on the streets in that reported israel and, and,
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or spain for example. and here in germany, the same time, my sense is that we were standing on the cusp of a possible reach, you know, very large scale crisis in the next 2 or 3 weeks. that is, what we're being told is very important to, to kind of paint a very differentiated picture about what the risks are here we have in the last 2 years talked a lot about, you know, these catastrophic risks of lots of people dying. we have seen more than 100000 people die in germany. of course 19. that is not what we're seeing, that that is not what most scientists to worried about if we look at, at the next few months. most of the worry is that we still have a lot of vaccinated people in germany compared to spain for instance, compared to israel. so that means that we do have, you know, the risk of some people having severe disease and death. but the majority of people are vaccinated, they are protected from severe disease and death, but they might be sick. they might have to isolate
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a lot of people might have to quarantine because if it in context is already happening in your, in your circle here yesterday, some people are talking about that. now yes, it's very clear to me that we are at the beginning of this very, very steep rise of cases that we've seen in other places because we had measures in place for delta that was delayed in germany. but we are now seeing the same kind of rise that we've seen in places like denmark or spain. so everybody's going to experience this in their circle. they're going to see a lot of people get sick and isolate, but it's not the same worries that we used to have. and i think that is very important. now, endemic doesn't come from the word end, right? endemic just means, this is a virus that is here to stay, but most people who get infected with it already have some kind of immune memory of having been exposed to the spike protein ideally through vaccine or through natural infection. and so the, the societal implications are different ones, but there are still societal implications. like we said, with china,
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if everybody is sick of work that disrupt supply chains in germany. if a lot of doctors out sick from the hospitals, you still have a problem with it. with having, having enough people there for all the other diseases that people have that aren't covered. and so we have to take this seriously. but we also have to realize that there is that this is a different level of worry i think, than what we were worried about the last 2 years. and that's thanks to the vaccines . and frankly, a, the biggest thing we can still do is to make sure that the people who haven't had a single shot of this vaccine get one that goes for germany. but it certainly also goes for 3000000000 people worldwide who haven't received a single shot of the sexy to see how concerned do you i personally, if i'm being very honest a, i have a family in china, elderly relatives, and i think personally, i feel more comfortable for some reason or whether it's rational or not, that they are in china with a 0 cove id policy at the moment. then if they were here in europe,
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and when i think about my relatives, they all come visit to you in europe. i'll say no is better not to come. also my other families in new zealand, which is also 0 covered strategy and i feel and level of comfort for whatever reason, you know that they are in a 0 cove id strategy country. but in saying that i have so much more freedom and i can travel in the summer and to when the cases are down, i can come in here to the office. you know it, sir. so i have a level of freedom that they are not enjoying, for example, and i can still go abroad within europe and even other countries. so professor cook, what's the year, what was the the worst case scenario for germany in the next, in the next couple of months for you? if the worst case scenario is that we're getting more severe a sickness than we think we are getting so that we something where we adding on the
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issue with the current and people are not able to work. and we're getting more and more patients in the hospital. so it's actually already starting that em physicians and nurses are not as severe as available before because of during current in order ticket on current in. so, so, and if this is increasing, then the question is, can we keep the system running? and if then severe cases come, which we do not expect to happen because of the vaccination because of what kind of ocean explained. then we are running into real issue, but i don't expect that to happen. what can we learn from countries like israel and spain, where there's a definitely a different approach. it's always really difficult to compare countries. so in israel, the elderly population of vaccinated. so as a country the vaccination rate is lower than in germany, but the, the higher risk or high risk population, those are vaccinated. so i think that's an important consequence that we may think also to connect with her or me. crohn is an opportunity that's a, that's
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a phrase that i've heard a couple of times. i see, i see you sort of looking so slightly bemused. an opportunity for what i mean. and i, you know, does the still, but i did leave iran. amazing how often i have heard that phrasal very similar phrases in the last time. i think we've psychologically, it's understandable that i mean we have had 2 years of really bad news. and a lot of times with this virus, it felt like the worst case scenario came true. now our micron is falls a little bit outside of that scope because it is actually from where we know a little bit milder in the disease causes than say, delta not necessarily milder than the virus that evolved from which is important. we don't know what the next marion will be, but i mean, i think people focus a lot on the virus and they say, omicron as an opportunity. but we are in the situation that we are in because we developed vaccines and record time. and we've vaccinated
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a lot of people around the world in record time. that is why we're talking about transitioning to some kind of endemic state. it is not because this virus itself is somehow, you know, that harmless. it simply isn't. it's the fact that it is meeting a population that has a huge amount at this point of immunity. and in a lot of countries, that's vaccine induced immunity. and it's infection induced immunity. on top of that, which is why a country like the u. k probably has a very high immunity wall to a virus like this. the you mentioned earlier, germans are religious, christie on the roster. he's very influential here in the country. he says he believes we will get back to the kind of life we had before the pandemic. do you share that optimism? yes, of course. i don't think this pandemic, i mean, the pandemic always ends. the question is, how much death and destruction do you get along the way? and, you know, the vaccines were our way of reducing that, that burden. it doesn't necessarily cut the time short that it takes for,
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for the spend emmett to work its way into an endemic state, but it reduces the price that we pay for it. and that's why we want everybody to be vaccinated. and then the sooner we get to that stage, i think the sooner we do get back to normal life, i do think there are some things that will stay for a while longer. i do imagine that even next year or the year off that we might in winter have certain restrictions like wearing masks, things like that. but i also think that that is a burden that we can all easily you know, shoulder after the last years of restrictions that we've lived through. so g, how do you see the future here in germany for yourself or do you share that optimism? i think that i can say optimism and an opportunity for europe and the rest of the world means, i think not so much optimism for china and china actually economy grew in china in the, during the pandemic. and now it's declining in the last quarter. so i think while the world now is dealing with on the kron in an open way at china might question
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it's 0 strategy. to leave it there would be talking about china and only chrome. i hope we've given you plenty of food to fall to who have to come back next time until then. bye bye, and choose a with
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who ah, for the battle against cove, it the only variant is putting healthcare systems around the world to the test
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vaccination campaigns. are accelerating while restrictions are intensifying once again. but are these measures enough to stop the spread of omicron, fax, data and reports? coven, 19 special? in 30 minutes on d. w. welcome to the dark side, where intelligence agencies are pulling the strings. there was a before 911 and an after 911. he says after $911.00, the clubs came off. where organized crime rules were conglomerates and make their own laws. they invade our private lives through surveillance. hidden opaque, secretive. what's true, what's vague?
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