The situation in Shanghai and the horrible images one has seen since the total lockdown there have stirred heightened concerns around the world.

The inhuman quarantine camps, the robot dogs that are policing the lockdown and calling upon residents to stay home, and the killing of pets whose owners tested positive for COVID-19 can be likened only to something out of a dystopian science fiction scenario.

The situation is reminiscent of early January, 2020, when the international community still feared the unknown, did not know how to combat COVID-19, and did not yet have its strongest weapon – the vaccine – in its arsenal.

The extreme secretiveness of Chinese authorities back then and their reluctance to admit what exactly had occurred fuel doubts today.

Conspiracy theories are spreading mouth-to-mouth as a response to China’s zero-COVID strategy, as an alternative to scientific conclusions regarding the decreased effectiveness of Chinese vaccines in protecting against the Omicron variant.

That is why Greece’s National Public Health Organisation had to issue an announcement that denied the existence both of any new variant “with the existing evidence” and “other data that raise concerns regarding the course of the pandemic”.

Nevertheless, we have to be certain about the “existing evidence”. Competent international organisations have a duty to shed light on everything that is going on in China so as to dispel all doubts and suspicions.

Over two years after the beginning of the pandemic, fears of a new variant that can imperil months of progress must awaken everyone, especially those who prefer for the time being to wear blinders.