China has developed a standard raft of measures to curb local coronavirus outbreaks. Along with mass testing, community lockdowns and strict contract tracing, holding local officials accountable for new infections has become routine, as evidenced by the latest outbreaks in Liaoning and Anhui provinces. But for local Chinese officials to receive verbal warnings, demotions or other disciplinary measures for failing to ensure zero infections under their watch is harsh and even a bit unfair, since the spread of Covid-19 is sometimes beyond their control. If the same standards were applied in other countries such as India or the United States, there would be few government officials left. In China’s political context, however, punishing local officials is seen as not only justified, but necessary. It is part of a top-down system that forces local officials to be extremely vigilant about the coronavirus in line with the state goal of ensuring zero infections. For the Chinese leadership and the general public, achieving zero local infections is desirable and doable. After the painful lockdown of Wuhan in early 2020, there is now a shared perception in China that the only acceptable number of infections is zero. Any local infection is seen as a mini-disaster that must be avoided at any cost. For practical reasons, China’s normal economic and social activities can be maintained only when there is no community spread of the coronavirus. Both public health and economic growth are at stake. China’s zero tolerance for infections comes as its central leadership wants to show its people, and the world, that the Chinese way of containing the coronavirus is the most effective, and that this type of control is possible only through China’s unique governance system. In other words, zero cases represent the strength of China’s system. As China’s Communist Party gears up to celebrate its 100th anniversary in July, the last thing it wants is Covid-19 disruptions. Recent experiences in India and Japan, and now Taiwan, have shown Chinese officials that no chances should be taken. Coronavirus quarantine extended for Hongkongers visiting Shenzhen, following emergence of mutated strains It was against this backdrop that Shenzhen and Shanghai recently tightened quarantine rules for inbound travellers. Shanghai, which had been requiring 14-day quarantines, changed the rules from May 16 to include a seven-day home quarantine following two weeks in concentrated quarantine. The good news is that China is likely to maintain a near-zero infection rate for the time being. Additionally, the Anhui outbreak has prompted a vaccination rush among local residents. For people who had been expecting China to relax its border controls or quarantine requirements, however, they may likely be disappointed. For now, a zero tolerance for Covid-19 trumps everything else.