China is seeing its worst outbreak since the pandemic started, with Shanghai still in the middle of its two-part lockdown. On Saturday, Shanghai, the country’s COVID epicenter, saw almost 25,000 new cases.
Meanwhile, the US has said that non-emergency workers and their families can leave the US consulate in Shanghai and told Americans to avoid traveling to China if they want to avoid “arbitrary enforcement” of social distancing restrictions. China hit back and defended its COVID policies, and reiterated that zero COVID didn’t mean reaching zero cases but just getting to a stable point that didn’t lead to a huge rebound in cases.
“Reconsider travel to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and COVID-19-related restrictions,” wrote the US State Department. “Do not travel to the PRC’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Jilin province, and Shanghai municipality due to COVID-19-related restrictions, including the risk of parents and children being separated. Reconsider travel to the PRC’s Hong Kong SAR due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”
“The U.S. announcement of authorizing the voluntary departure of U.S. personnel and their family members at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai is the U.S.’ own decision,” said China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian in a statement. “However, it should be pointed out that China’s anti-epidemic policies are science-based and effective, and we are fully confident that Shanghai and other places in China will prevail over the new wave of the epidemic. We are strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposed to the U.S. side’s groundless accusation against China’s epidemic response policies and have lodged solemn representations with the U.S. side.”