China and COVID-19: Going Full Hermit Kingdom?

An East Asian nation walled off from the outside world, suspicious of foreigners and of any contact with them. No, this description is not referring to North Korea, but increasingly also appears to fit the People’s Republic of China. In its fight against COVID-19, the People’s Republic has imposed some of the world’s most extreme pandemic control measures, both within the country as well as when it comes to entry restrictions for international travellers. Moreover, China is the last major country to follow a so-called “zero-COVID” strategy of ruthlessly stamping out any and all outbreaks through strict lockdowns and mass testing. However, with new COVID variants becoming ever more transmissible, how much longer can the world’s second-largest economy maintain this state of permanent semi-isolation?