wo years after COVID-19 first emerged in China, the potential failure of the country’s “zero-COVID” policy poses the biggest global risk of 2022, threatening to add to global supply-chain disruptions and inflationary pressures, warned Eurasia Group, a political-risk consulting firm.
“For rich countries, the end of the pandemic will arrive soon as the virus collides with highly vaccinated populations and treatments that prevent death. But most countries, and particularly China, will have a harder time getting there,” wrote Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer and Cliff Kupchan, the firm’s chairman, in a Monday report.
They predicted China’s zero-COVID policy, running up against a much more transmissible omicron variant with vaccines that are only marginally effective, will fail to contain infections in 2022. That will lead to larger outbreaks and more severe lockdowns “and greater economic disruptions in a nation that has long been the world’s primary engine for growth.”
The zero-COVID policy has entailed border restrictions and strict lockdowns when cases emerge. The 13 milion residents of Xi’an in northwestern China have been confined to their homes for the past 12 days in the largest lockdown since the 11 million residents of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, were locked down in 2020, according to CNN.