Take a step back and–if you have been paying attention to developments the past couple of days–try to reminisce about how 2020 happened. China realizing a budding pandemic too late. Hospitals and beds in China reaching more than maximum capacity. Other countries wondering what the hell is going on. And then imposing travel restrictions when it is too late, following weeks of political squabbles. Sounds familiar?
Over the weekend, I had a conversation about the Covid resurgence with a friend and I proposed what looks like a conspiracy theory. In November, there were massive protests against China’s draconian anti-COVID restrictions-large scale, multi-city lockdowns, mass testing, COVID tracking apps, stringent quarantine, etc.
People had enough and decided that the Communist Party of China’s (CPC)’s Zero COVID strategy was too draconian. They came out en masse to protest. If the protests were limited to just COVID, it would have been okay. These guys called for Xi to resign and establish a western-style democracy.
Essentially, a dismantling of the CPC. Very strangely, the Chinese government who responded with not just brute force to Hong Kong protesters but also went as far as enacting the punitive National Security Law, this time, decided to–without even the slightest fight– end all restrictions and left people to their fate. The only thing they told them after disabling the COVID tracking app was that if “you feel you’re sick, go to the HOSPITAL.”
So’pe otilo. We no dey do again. People were simply left to do anyhow, shop anyhow and travel without restrictions right in the middle of a bustling pandemic.
Why? Spite. Spite is a dangerous drug.
Xi felt that those protests were foreign sponsored to undermine him not just for the East-West rivalry, but for his support for Russia. (Last week, he reaffirmed his country’s partnership with Russia, with Putin inviting him to Moscow) So, China continued to underreport infection numbers, and kept them low and at variance with WHO figures, just to give the West a sense of calm.
Travelers from China now travel everywhere, carrying the disease with them. Right in the middle of the worst winter in Europe and the US in years and especially in the UK where health care, as well as immigration and passport control services, are down due to strikes.
As of this morning, many countries in the EU are imposing travel restrictions following Italy’s lead. Some are testing all arrivals from China. Nobody is talking about lockdowns yet as they are unlikely at the moment because the more practical option is to rely on the vaccine and recall an already dead herd immunity theory.
However, there is no guarantee that if many of the developed world craters are under the yoke of heavy infections and impose lockdowns, Nigeria will not follow suit. This would have an equal impact on the 2023 elections which are merely weeks away.