‘Like a dystopia’: French expats on China’s ‘zero Covid’ and its shocking reversal

© Noel Celis, AFP

The Chinese Communist Party’s reversal of the draconian “zero Covid” policy in December sparked an unprecedented epidemic across the country. But while the surging cases caused them a lot of worry, the end of brutal lockdowns was ultimately a big relief for the French expats FRANCE 24 spoke to.

Three years after Covid-19 first emerged from the central city of Wuhan, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has finally put an end to the stringent “zero Covid” policy, after tight lockdowns prompted unprecedented protests.

The euphoria over the end of zero Covid came before a vast outbreak across the country, with China’s largely unvaccinated elderly especially vulnerable to severe cases. Hospitals were overcrowded in a matter of days, with emergency rooms overwhelmed with patients, pharmacies overwhelmed with patients trying to buy anti-fever medication, and – most tragically – crematoriums overwhelmed by an influx of bodies.

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