China’s Zero-Covid Policy Leaves a Mark on the Country

The remnants of China’s zero-Covid policy are still evident, despite the end of the current wave of the pandemic. Temporary hospitals, empty testing booths, and posters displaying QR codes asking for travel history are among the visible reminders of the policy.

The government has not disclosed the amount spent on zero-Covid measures, but Reuters estimated that China was on track to spend over 350 billion yuan ($52bn) by 2022 on Covid testing, medical facilities, monitoring equipment, and other anti-Covid measures.

In Shandong province, a temporary hospital built from metal containers has been repurposed into rental space for “skilled talents.” The government views this as a cost-saving measure, but it has been criticized for its comfort and quality.

Testing booths, mobile and stationary, had been a common sight across the country during zero-Covid, but now many are up for sale on second-hand trading platforms or simply sitting empty on the streets.

In addition to the physical reminders, bright red posters asking people to scan QR codes for their travel history can still be found throughout the country. The zero-Covid policy had a major impact on China’s economy, strangling supply chains and shutting down businesses.

However, the hundreds of thousands of workers in white hazmat suits who carried out the edicts are no longer visible, and there has been no official guidance on their future.

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