Healthcare

In this file photo taken on 6 March 2021, demonstrators throw masks into a fire during a mask burning event to protest Covid-19 restrictions, at the Idaho Statehouse in Boise, US. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images North America/AFP)

How the pandemic overturned my understanding of Americans

Like many of us experiencing pandemic days, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai spent the last two years living quietly. Even now, scenes on television are rife with pandemic news in the US. Watching health workers refusing to get vaccinated or the population spurning masks in defence of their freedoms, Cheng wonders why some people are willing to be “martyrs” for the cause they believe in. Or worse, are they just foolishly courting the virus? Maybe this really shows a great gulf in attitudes between the East and West.
Passengers prepare to board their train at the Hangzhou East railway station in Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province on 20 October 2021. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

When Beijingers can't return home: Is China going overboard with its zero-Covid measures?

Even as the Chinese government sticks to its zero-Covid strategy, with lockdowns and other measures to handle even single cases of infection, Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu observes that sometimes under the pressure of meeting the policy, the authorities can go overboard with their measures. Although the people have largely adopted a grin-and-bear-it attitude, if this policy is set to persist for some time, perhaps some consideration and practical adjustments are in order?
People look at a billboard showing former US President Donald Trump in Times Square in New York, US, 14 October 2021. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

Pandemic diary (Chapter 4): The president who spread a political virus

Like many of us experiencing pandemic days, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai spent the last two years living quietly. He dwelled in his home in Hong Kong’s Wu Kai Sha, but he was never far from the drama of global Covid-19 news, beamed in from TV and computer screens. The pomposity of one politician stood out — in the face of a life-threatening disease, how could the leader of the world’s largest economy and even the league of nations have set such a poor example and gotten away with it?
A medical worker collects a swab from a person at a nucleic acid testing site at a park, following new cases of the coronavirus disease, in Beijing, China, 6 August 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

China's zero-Covid regime: My home quarantine experience in Beijing

Zaobao’s Beijing correspondent Yang Danxu experienced a 14-day home quarantine for being in the vicinity of Covid-19 patients while in Gansu. From her first-hand experience, she observes that people at large have gotten used to and even expect sudden but orderly disruptions when outbreaks erupt and are stamped out under a zero-Covid regime. But as borders start opening around the world, will China be forced to open up to new mindsets of living with the virus?
Amazon workers, environmental advocates, labour groups, and small business owners participate in a rally and news conference to protest plans for a new Amazon air cargo mega-hub at the Newark International Airport on 6 October 2021 in Newark, New Jersey, US. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

Worsening global digital divide as the US and China continue zero-sum competitions

In the digital era we live in, seven “super platforms” in the US and China constitute two-thirds of total market value worldwide. Yet we hardly see any significant joint efforts or “healthy competition” between the US and China to help combat digital divides in the least developed countries. These are places where more than 80% of the population are still offline and the problem has been compounded by the pandemic. How can the US and China do more where help is most needed?
Models gesture as they present creations for medical professionals, which are designed by Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology in collaboration with Dishang, during China Fashion Week in Beijing, China, 11 September 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

A zero-Covid strategy has worked in China, but will it work elsewhere?

Despite various waves of the coronavirus resurfacing in different parts of China, the authorities have effectively implemented a zero-Covid policy to control the spread of infections, including the more transmissible Delta variant. Academic Gu Qingyang notes that while the policy has largely worked and helped to keep China’s economy humming, it is specific to China's conditions and may not be replicable elsewhere.
People clean up their flooded homes in a Queens neighborhood that saw massive flooding and numerous deaths following a night of heavy wind and rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on 3 September 2021 in New York City, US. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP)

What can China and the US cooperate on now?

US academic Zhu Zhiqun says that the future should not be decided solely by self-interested politicians in Washington or Beijing. Instead, real problems that affect or endanger ordinary people's lives should be of the highest priority. A failure to cooperate can lead to confrontation between the two most consequential nations of today and bring harm to the world.
A nurse shows vials of the Sputnik V vaccine, 19 August 2021. (Orlando Sierra/AFP)

Vaccine diplomacy in Southeast Asia: Russia trails far behind China and the US

For a country that was first off the blocks, Russia has a long way to go if it wants to catch up with China and the US in the game of vaccine diplomacy.
Dr Zhang Wenhong, China’s top infectious diseases expert and head of the Center for Infectious Disease at Huashan Hospital. (Internet)

Who saved Dr Zhang Wenhong from punishment for questioning China's Covid-19 policy?

China's top infectious diseases expert Dr Zhang Wenhong was recently embroiled in an alleged academic fraud case but investigations have cleared his name later on. The investigation came after he put forward the view of "living with the virus", which is at odds with the official stance for achieving zero-Covid. Who protected Dr Zhang from punishment? Was it public opinion, the city of Shanghai or Dr Zhang's impeccable moral standards? Will this deter professionals from speaking the truth in the future?