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tv   To the point - Olympic struggle Can China beat Omicron  Deutsche Welle  January 22, 2022 2:30am-2:56am CET

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o 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 series included $3000.00 on d, w, and online winter olympics in beijing al, 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 and in the studio with me is. so g fun brought some from d w's asia desk. she said, as 0 coven policy might have benefited china in the last 2 years, but only 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,
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nothing can stop on a cron. it can only be slowed down. and one welcome to to science journalist tie 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 large. 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,
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that is on the 1st of february which is usually the period of high as migration in china. and even though the chinese government has advised everyone to stay at home and not travel 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 coverage policy for as long as it can carry cooper's retarder. i just wonder, you know,
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a lot of people must be listening to this kind of these kind of comments. looking at the situation of 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 we can do it? 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 tried to do it in the safest way possible? and i mean that the big question that i have really is, how long can
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a country keep the 0 over 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 a 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 than, than they are actually contributing to the public health in a country like china. and i think those are the big questions for 2022. what do you
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have to add professor quote to those are in terms of hard data information to the, to the questions. clinical permission to just read asking for the importance we don't, we don't know the data from china. i'm sure join us collecting data like crazy. but the public does know much about it, so cyril cov, it's obviously failed because of which one has arrived in china. so the smallest read of g like as little as possible until the lympics for sure. but even during this is a trying to admit 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 them with the handle european championship, no matter what measure you do, and germany, i think has good had good measures and 13 for 5 years like that so that is, that is not going to work. okay, we talked about it already. so let's take
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a closer look at china's a 0 covey approach, which is under pressure with a tie coverage meant that it's, it's, it's hardly measurable that you can keep this for 4 months to, to really keep it down. it won't be possible. so at one point i expect to see arrays in cases in china. ok, what do we want to we know about only cronum, what do we need to know? i think one thing that sometimes gets a little bit lost it. we just thought in the clip, you know, that, that the vaccines don't seem to offer a lot of protection. it's only crone, 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 bit, he 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
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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 otherwise, you can really be creating a lot of hurt in, in those moments where you're clinging on to a policy. the maybe at that point isn't really, you know, with a lot of hurt. well, i mean, if you imagine that on a cron starts spreading and the only answer that the government has is to lock down more and more places for longer, 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
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point, of course, the risk of this virus spreading might actually be lower. it is the risk in terms of public health. the political risk is of course a different one. and that just like we're seeing in the u. k. at the moment with borrows johnson lifting all restrictions, i think, you know, whenever you look around the world, you have to look at the politics in these countries and you know, 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, but what can you tell us about how the year the chinese people are responding to all this uncertainty about what sort of knowledge they have at their disposal. what, how the government is sort of working with somehow, whether the government's priorities to people over games. these are very difficult questions. i think in general, um, most chinese people do support the government's decision to keep a 0 coded strategy. and, and i think china has, in accordance with its knowledge of its health system, it set up, okay,
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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 have the capacity at the moment, ma'am, if her there corona virus where t and hasn't weighs as we had here in europe, say the current vaccine, the joiner is using simply won't work against the, against a 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, as so as cocoa freshman said, like, do we expect not that many severe cases,
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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 has to stay more, watch the situation more dynamically and then act. so just just having one strategy for as long as possible is, is, is very difficult to communicate. and, and i also think that the suffering of the population in terms of public health consequences outside of the viral infection will be severe in china. how much of a threat is this to the credibility of she jing thing is 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
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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, there she j. pink government also wants to keep people happy with the government. and they know that any thing beyond one month of locked down, i will definitely get people very frustrated at to was the central government as a is a journalist, weddies. where do you see that situation leading? you've got the problem with lock down that the threat to the economy. you've got the public health threat. how is that going to be needed together, or how is it going to impact china in a, in a, in a drastic way potentially? yeah, i mean, i do think that it, this year at some point we are going to see a massive impact on china. whether it is because of, you know, the,
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the public health restrictions that are put in place in order to, to keep on the conference reading or because on the chrome 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 clearest that on the kron is going to spread. the question is, what are people doing? what does the government doing to prepare for that event? you ality, what do we know there? i, i honestly couldn't say i, 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,
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you know, actions in 2022 and i think and what, what do you think her to, to be as core to about what, what does this tell us about sort of other similar events in the, in the, in the future like bonus lead to 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 think we really need to be flexible. you can compare a strategy in one country and bring it to another country that works. so we and 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 out a pretty much a unprecedented rate at the same time though, people in some places,
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at least some countries, at least her again out enjoying packed barzon back streets. her how does that work? indeed, does it work? let's have a quick look. the oma con variant is given 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 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 dr. fall, 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 virus restrictions. despite an
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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. i could fish meet, i mean, we see people out on the streets in that reported israel under 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. i have 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,
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that that is not what most scientists to worried about. if we look at, at the next few months, most of supply chains in germany, if a lot of doctors out sick from the hospitals, you still have a problem with it were having, having enough people there for 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, this is a different level of worry i think, than what we were worried about the last 2 years. and it's, thanks to the vaccines. and frankly, 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. if this works in sure, so to hell consume, do you personally? ah, personally, or if i'm being very honest or 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
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are in china with a 0 cove id or policy at the moment. then if they were he in europe and went, i think about my relatives, they all come visit to you in europe. i'll say no is better not to come or some other families in new zealand, which is also 0 covered strategy. and i feel a level of comfort for whatever reason, you know that they are in a 0 go that 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 with in 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
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a sickness than we think we are getting so that that will be something where we adding on the issue with the current and people are not able to work. and we're getting more and more patients in the hospital. so it is actually already starting that that physicians and nurses are not as severe as available before because of their 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 then severe cases come, which we do not expect to happen because of the vaccination because of what kind of push 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 those are definitely a different approach? it's always very difficult to compare countries. so israel, the elderly population of vaccinated. so as a country vaccination rate is lower than in germany, but the, the higher risk a high risk population, those are vaccinated. so i think that's an important is very influential here in
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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, a pandemic always ends. the question of 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, 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 after, we might in winter have certain restrictions like ring masks, things like that. but i also think that that is a burden with that. we can all easily, you know, shoulder after the last years of, 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
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optimism? i think that i can say optimism. i'm an opportunity for europe and the rest of the world means, i think not so much optimism for china. china, actually ad 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 a kron in an open way at china might question it's 0 strategy. okay, we'll have to leave it there would be talking about china and army chrome. i hope we're giving you plenty of time to fall to who have to come back next time until then. bye bye, and choose with
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ah.
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