Inside Story

Can China maintain its ‘zero-COVID’ strategy?

Small outbreaks continue to trigger lockdowns and travel restrictions for 1.4 billion Chinese people.

Many countries have abandoned the aim of stopping all COVID-19 infections, avoiding lockdowns and travel bans as the Omicron and Delta variants spread worldwide.

But not in China, where the coronavirus was first detected in 2019.

A handful of infections is enough to trigger snap lockdowns and restrictions for millions of people in cities including Beijing, Tianjin and Xi’an.

The government is worried about the virus’s spread before the Lunar New Year and the Winter Olympics in less than three weeks time.

Why are leaders so determined to pursue their so-called “zero-COVID” strategy?

And how will they deal with the fallout on the economy and the lives of 1.4 billion Chinese?

Presenter: Rob Matheson


Dan Wang – Chief economist, Hang Seng Bank (China)

Jeffrey Lazarus – Head of the Health Systems Research Group at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health.

Steve Tsang – Director of the China Institute at SOAS University of London