The heavy price of “zero covid”

China announced yesterday (Monday) that it has set the first of next June as the date for life to return to normal in Shanghai – the financial capital and the second largest city in the country – after a closure caused by the outbreak of infections with the new Corona virus (Covid-19), which lasted for more than 6 weeks, and left an impact. Apparently the Chinese economy. Shanghai Vice Mayor Zhong Meng said yesterday that the city will reopen in stages, and that restrictions on residents’ movements will remain until May 21, to prevent any new epidemic outbreak. He explained that the process of reopening Shanghai will continue during the period from the first of June to the middle of late June, provided that the authorities implement strict measures to ensure that new infections are prevented from returning. However, some residents of the city, which is considered the largest seaport in the world, expressed frustration with the authorities’ repeated promises to restore their lives to normal. “Shanghai… am I supposed to believe you?” one wrote on the social networking site Weibo. The closure and its strict measures, which included millions of residents in Shanghai and other cities, had a negative impact on a number of Chinese economic sectors, amid fears that this would result in an economic downturn during the second quarter of this year. And government data showed yesterday (Monday) that China’s industrial output and retail sales fell during last April to their lowest level in two years. The food sector decreased by 22.7%, while car sales fell by 47.6%. And despite the authorities’ assurances that they are determined to stimulate the economy to prevent its deflation; Ambiguity surrounds the future of the second largest economy in the world, as a result of the arbitrary application of the zero-tolerance policy to the epidemic (Covid zero), which provides for the eradication of the spread of the virus, no matter the high cost. And if it eventually weakens China’s growth, it will have negative repercussions on the global economy. The Chinese government adheres to the “zero Covid” policy, although its current experience in the capital, Beijing, has revealed the flaws of that strategy. Every day, it discovers dozens of new cases of Covid-19 in the capital, Beijing, during the past three weeks, which means that it is impossible to fall to the level of “zero infections.” Although the government has not imposed a complete lockdown in Beijing; However, traffic levels on the streets of the capital fell last week to levels in Shanghai. And the government announced yesterday (Sunday) the extension of the imposition of work from homes in four districts of Beijing. It also decided to ban meals in restaurants, and stop some transportation services. And despite the announcement by the Vice Mayor of Shanghai yesterday that supermarkets and pharmacies will reopen from yesterday; It decided to keep the restrictions that prevent the movement of residents until the 21st of this month. The Chinese authorities had promised when they closed Shanghai on March 27 that the closure would not last beyond April 5. And Shanghai announced on Sunday that it had recorded less than a thousand new infections. She said that she had not recorded any new infections in areas that enjoy a degree of freedom of movement, which are subject to monitoring the implementation of the “zero Covid” policy, over the past two days. The authorities say that 16 Shanghai neighborhoods have achieved the “zero Covid” level; While the authorities in the capital, Beijing, reported 54 new cases, an increase of 41 new infections recorded the previous day.

Saudi Arabia is progressing in curbing the epidemic crisis

Saudi Arabia made new progress yesterday (Monday), by declining from 74th to 75th place in the world’s ranking of countries affected by Covid-19. The cumulative number of injuries in Saudi Arabia (Sunday) reached 759,226, resulting in 9,116 deaths. Iraq continues to lead the Arab countries by occupying the 40th place globally, with 2.33 million infections, and 25,216 deaths from the virus. Followed by Jordan, which ranks 45th in the world, with 1.69 million injuries, and 14,048 deaths. Morocco ranks 53rd in the world with 1.16 million injuries, and 16,071 deaths; Lebanon ranks 57th in the world, with 1.10 million injuries, and 10,408 deaths. As for Tunisia, it ranks 61st in the world in terms of the number of injuries, which reached 1.04 million. Tunisia ranks first in the Arab world in terms of the number of deaths in the Arab world; Its death toll from the virus reached 28,575. The UAE ranks 67th in the world with 902,484 injuries, resulting in 2,302 deaths.

Johnson: Cheese and coffee are the worst problems of “working from home”!

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Daily Mail yesterday (Monday) that he again appeals to Britons to return to work from their offices. He added that he tried to work from home but found himself torn between making coffee and eating cheese! He explained that employees become more productive, energetic, and imaginative when they work with colleagues in the workplace. He added, “My experience in working from home is that you waste a lot of time making more coffee… and then – you know – you get up and move very slowly towards the refrigerator to eat a piece of cheese.” Then you return very slowly to the “laptop”, forgetting what you were doing a while ago. The prime minister said: “We must return to the habit of going to the offices. Many will disagree with me on this. But I think that people are more productive, energetic, and creative when they are around them.” And the newspaper “The Guardian” reported yesterday (Monday) that the latest official statistics from Transport for London indicate that the movement of passengers on London metro trains is still less than 70% of its level in January 2020, before the outbreak of the “Covid-19” outbreak that prompted many to work. from their homes. And criticism of the British government for civil servants who refuse to return to the offices.

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