SHENZHEN, China – Beijing will not waver in preventing a rebound of Covid-19 and in its “dynamic clearing” of cases as soon as they emerge, a spokesman for China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said in a press conference on Saturday.
China’s current strategy is still able to control Covid-19 despite the high transmissibility of coronavirus variants and asymptomatic carriers, a health official added.
China has a zero-Covid-19 policy, which includes lockdowns, quarantining and rigorous testing, aimed at stopping the spread of the disease.
“Previous practices have proved that our prevention and control plans and a series of strategic measures are completely correct,” Mr Hu Xiang, an official at the NHC’s disease prevention and control bureau, said at the briefing.
“The policies are also the most economical and effective.”
There has been widespread speculation that China will step away from its zero-Covid-19 policy.
Unverified online posts about the country’s potential reopening helped key stock gauges post their best weekly performance in years this week.
China is said to have plans to scrap a “circuit breaker” system which suspends international flights that have ferried the most infected passengers to the country, Bloomberg News reported.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s announcement that China will make BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine available to foreigners living in the country also fanned expectations of a reopening.
NHC officials said outbreaks across the country made sticking to current policies important.
China reported more than 3,500 new local Covid-19 cases for Friday, with flare-ups in Guangdong, Inner Mongolia, Fujian and Beijing.
The thousands of domestic cases logged in the past week represent a tiny fraction of the country’s vast population.
But they have been enough for officials to take drastic action.
A lockdown of the world’s biggest iPhone factory in the central city of Zhengzhou prompted large numbers of workers to flee on foot, alleging food shortages, inadequate medical care and poor treatment from their employer, Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn.
On Thursday, the authorities in the north-western city of Lanzhou made a rare apology after a three-year-old boy died of carbon monoxide poisoning following denial of medical treatment during a weeks-long Covid-19 lockdown.
Officials on Saturday criticised the use of “excessively layered” and “one-size-fits-all” policies in some locales, but insisted the overall zero-tolerance virus approach was “correct”. AFP, BLOOMBERG,