All Wuhan Flights Cancelled Again As Covid-19 Returns To Where It Began

The original Covid-19 outbreak may have been nearly 40 times worse than official statistics suggest. The Wuhan airport re-opened in early April 2020 as a big show of Chinese success at containing Covid-19. They also put on a big show of disinfection, even though the airport had been closed for ten weeks.

China’s response (going ‘full Wuhan’) was massive testing and enforced stay at home orders and quarantine. Some people were locked into their homes to die (tombs). But it looked like China had mostly beaten Covid-19. Of course the strain of the virus experienced there initially was prior to the ‘D->G mutation’ that made it more transmissible in infecting Europe and the United States.

Now they’re facing Delta, and transportation in and out of Wuhan is again cut off. (HT: @crucker)

China suspended flights and trains, canceled professional basketball league games and announced mass coronavirus testing in Wuhan on Tuesday as widening outbreaks of the delta variant reached the city where the disease was first detected in late 2019.

While the total number of cases is still in the hundreds, they are far more widespread than anything China has dealt with since the initial outbreak that devastated Wuhan in early 2020 and over time spread to the rest of the country and the world.

A return to where this all started is a problem for China which needs to argue they’ve contained the virus. And it brings new attention to Wuhan as the place the pandemic appeared to begin. It brings new attention to unexplained virus cases in September and October, the Wuhan airport’s coronavirus containment drill in September, and the Wuhan CDC’s ordering of testing supplies at the same time.

This all matters a great deal for China (contain the virus, since Chinese vaccines haven’t been nearly as effective as mRNA or even adenovirus shots currently in use), but also for China’s role in the world. President Xi’s messaging, as espoused by surrogates like the CEO of Marriott, is that the Chinese model is best for managing a crisis like Covid-19 and that the West in weak.

The narrative that the virus spread via zoonotic transmission (animal to human) also matters a great deal to China,

  • That suggests ‘old ways’ like wet markets need to be swept aside by modern Chinese socialist development. The ‘wet market explanation’ supports the march of history of the Chinese Communist Party and gives more urgency to its mandate.

  • In contrast a lab leak is an indictment of their administrative competence, and suggests that there are holes in Chinese competence and leadership under President Xi who is seeking a third term at the Twentieth Party Congress in late 2022.

  • A lab leak (‘China’s fault’) also diminishes Chinese prestige in the world, which it’s worked assiduously to built through efforts like Belt and Road.

The origin of the Covid-19 pandemic matters not just for China, but for preventing the next one. It shouldn’t matter but it does. If there was a lab leak, that places biosafety at the top of the world’s agenda. Perhaps it should be anyway, but it won’t happen in the same way. And if the leak followed gain-of-functions research that would place greater world pressure to end the practice of experimenting on viruses to make them more transmissible in order to identify which ones are priorities for research on therapeutics or vaccines.

It was likely that President Xi himself didn’t know the severity of the situation until late January, and his public appearances and statements don’t begin to put it front and center until a week into February. China let the virus become uncontained. They let it spread. And they didn’t warn the world, likely because information didn’t immediately reach the top. As the grave nature of the threat became clear Xi replaced Vice Premier Sun Chunlan center stage in the country’s response. This is highly suggestive, to me, that there wasn’t anything intentional if there was indeed a lab leak, a local officials likely downplayed or perhaps thought they were in the clear after September and October.

Now China has administered over a billion vaccines, of an inferior character, and they’re facing outbreaks of a virus that has become more transmissible again. They’ve licensed the BioNTech mRNA vaccine and talk about it as potential ‘boosters’, manufactured locally, that strengthen Chinese technology. Even with that narrative, Malaysia is switching to Pfizer. Thailand has moved away from Sinovac. The UAE has discovered the limits of Sinopharm. So there’s clear loss of face brewing.

Not that any of this proves the superiority of the U.S. system where we bribe people with pot to get vaccinated and people believe taking a vaccine makes you the physical property of a corporation.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Comments

  1. Interesting.

    Vietnam has just signed a contract for producing 200 million doses (pending EUA approval) of Arcturus Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ARCT) new mRNA vaccine in Vietnam beginning Q4. 2021. Arcturus Therapeutics is working with Singapore to introduce the vaccine there, too, and elsewhere in Asia.. So that’s another blow to the Chinese vaccine.

  2. I know a few other governments who are trying to control the media narrative and censor “misinformation” to make themselves look better politically. Businesses and high profile individuals have been doing that for a long time. Now the unlimited wealth of governments wants in on the game.

  3. lets call a spade a spade here
    it is the …
    W-U-H-A-N CHINA Virus

    Such a lame ass Bullshit paragraph
    “It was likely that President Xi himself didn’t know the severity of the situation until late January, and his public appearances and statements don’t begin to put it front and center until a week into February. China let the virus become uncontained. They let it spread. And they didn’t warn the world, likely because information didn’t immediately reach the top. As the grave nature of the threat became clear Xi replaced Vice Premier Sun Chunlan center stage in the country’s response. This is highly suggestive, to me, that there wasn’t anything intentional if there was indeed a lab leak, a local officials likely downplayed or perhaps thought they were in the clear after September and October.”

    Bullshit that Xi didn’t know the severity of the situation until late Jan.

  4. The CCP nationalists in China are just going to try to blame India and “the West” for the Delta/India variant hitting them and then try to act as if they are a role model for the world — even when they are about as bad as it gets nowadays in functioning states — in how to deal with a pandemic.

  5. Nobody was locked into their home to die just like nobody was dropping dead in the street from Covid. This was merely staged propaganda to get people to take Covid seriously . . . just as the US does using slightly different strategies.

    This isn’t another lockdown — which few Chinese cities other than Wuhan actually did — but simply isolating the City from an outbreak in Nanjing. Beijing has done the same. This stops people from coming to the city, but not from leaving and doesn’t force them to stay at home or close businesses. Wuhan has also started a tremendous mass testing effort and found all of 328 “cases” of Delta variant in a city bigger than New York.

  6. If a country like China that has absolute power to do whatever it wants to stop the virus such as shut its own borders, implement lockdowns, has arrival quarantines, and can force its citizens to vaccinate is having covid outbreaks, it means the approach that they and the world has been using just doesnt work with covid. The world followed the Chinese approach. All the Chinese approach does is delay and prolong the inevitable. Sadly, the Democrats and most world governments are in love with this approach. I doubt anyone will ever learn.

  7. @Wesley Your post shows a lack of knowledge about China’s response to Covid, which was very much a lighter touch than most of the rest of the world. Wuhan was indeed locked down, but almost all other cities had no lockdowns or minimal ones, and instead isolated so that life was kept more or less normal other than being unable to come in. Outside of the initial panic in Wuhan, in China there was no Australian/Italian/Spanish/French/UK/Canada style mass imprisonment, businesses were free to remain open, people were free to recreate and go about their business, and things were totally returned to normal more than a year ago. I happen to agree with your point that there is an inevitability about Covid that is unavoidable with these authoritarian measures – carried out in Australia and Europe – but there is little evidence that Covid is now hitting China as hard as elsewhere, and China has been overwhelmingly normal for most of the time that Australians, Europeans, Californians, etc. have been stuck at home with businesses closed, while their children have been cruelly denied educations.

  8. @Gparkside – no, it’s not. I think you’re getting your time zones confused, you want to be looking at operations prospectively. I just checked Hainan Airlines for tomorrow, their Wuhan – Beijing, Wuhan – Lanzhou, and Wuhan – Donying flights are zeroed out…

  9. @Gary
    Seems like Hainan’s website is have issues displaying any flight status (throwing out an error for anything). Checked China Southern on Aug 04 so should not have any time zone factor in play, 5/10 WUH-CAN flights operating; 1/3 WUH-PVG operating. Definitely not ALL flights canceled.

  10. Thanks for spreading the truth, Gary. Like you, I do hate those yellow bastards. They brought this virus to the world. I pray we send a nuclear bomb to China and wipe the 1.4 billion population out

  11. The Winter Olympics are scheduled for Beijing in Feb 2022; no doubt China wants to look Covid-free for that.
    (and please delete @Holi above)

  12. Interesting. A business partner in China just told me about this. Certain “high risk area” such as Nanjing Airport – believed to be source of Delta – and Zhangjiajie – a touristy town is locked down but “mid risk area” like Wuhan is just being placed into close contact tracing and travelers get tested to be in and out. That’s miles away from in and out is cut. Where did you get the news?

    Jacob M.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *