On Covid-19, China not letting down her guard just yet

It was the first major economy to achieve growth since Covid-19 crippled the world economy.

In Summary

•In south China's economic powerhouse of Shenzhen, differentiated epidemic control measures are applied to factories to keep production stable. 

•Various precise and science-based measures have been introduced across the nation to realize speedy and accurate epidemiological screening, contact-tracing, evaluation of risk of exposure, and closed-off management.

People ride bikes on a street amid snowfall, following the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Beijing, China.
PROTECTED: People ride bikes on a street amid snowfall, following the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Beijing, China.
Image: Tingshu Wang/Reuters

The re-emergence of clusters of the coronavirus in China has yet again served as a warning to the rest of the world that living with the virus right now is a dicey affair. While many countries have hastened to open up, China has stuck to its ambition of a zero- Covid strategy.

Of course, China has a history with the virus due to allegations that it emanated from the Wuhan in Hubei Province. The jury is still out on whether this was really Covid’s ground zero. What is critical right now is how to deal with the problem at hand.

So in the emerging threat, the country is taking no chances. Science and lessons learnt are forming the core of the renewed onslaught to curb and bring down the rising number of infections to negligible levels.

According to Xinhua, China’s official news agency, the recent cluster of Covid -19 infections, which spread rapidly in multiple regions across China, has heightened the necessity for the nation to adopt more scientific and precise measures to strike a balance between epidemic control and social and economic development.

Since the outbreak of the Covid -19 epidemic, China has relentlessly invested in targeted and pragmatic efforts to contain the spread of the virus. However, there is little chance that the virus will disappear anytime soon, given the trajectory of the pandemic over the past two-plus years. Only by adopting more scientific and precise measures can China achieve the best results in epidemic control with minimum costs and minimise the epidemic's impact on economic and social development.

Thanks to the intervention efforts that China has taken, the country has managed to rein in the upward trend of the Omicron variant's transmission, and contain it to a relatively low level when compared with the exponential rise of cases in many other countries within a short time. The recent resurgence in new infections does not nullify the efficacy of China's overall strategy and measures featuring a dynamic zero-Covid approach.

As a Chinese saying goes, "victory comes from perseverance." China has never dropped its guard, continuously optimising its response measures while sticking to the dynamic zero-Covid approach. Various precise and science-based measures have been introduced across the nation to realize speedy and accurate epidemiological screening, contact-tracing, evaluation of risk of exposure, and closed-off management.

At the national level, the ninth edition of diagnostic and treatment protocols for novel coronavirus, which is being implemented nationwide, has adjusted the standard of several measures down a notch in alignment with the changing situation. Yet it by no means indicates that the country's anti-Covid-19 strategy is relaxed. On the contrary, it is now more scientific, precise, and targeted.

A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed China flag.
A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed China flag.
Image: REUTERS

Fully aware of the complex, arduous and enduring nature of Covid-19 control both at home and abroad, governments of various levels nationwide have redoubled their efforts in social mobilisation and endeavoured to carry out all the epidemic control work in a more solid and meticulous manner.

They managed to minimise the impact of the epidemic on the country's economic and social development by taking a range of localized measures to promote industrial production, shield the industrial and supply chains, and ensure people's access to essential daily supplies and services.

In south China's economic powerhouse of Shenzhen, differentiated epidemic control measures are applied to factories to keep production stable. In the Baoan District of Shenzhen where many manufacturing factories are located, a working plan on coordinating epidemic control and economic and social development is mapped out to enhance social mobilization.

Thanks to effective epidemic prevention and control, people's lives and health are safeguarded, and China became the first major economy to achieve growth since Covid-19 crippled the world economy.

A more daunting task lies ahead as the characteristics of faster spread and stronger concealment of variant strains of Omicron require an earlier and faster response as well as stricter and more practical prevention and control measures. Only through consistent, more scientific and precise epidemic response measures can China ultimately win the battle against the virus.

The writer is the Executive Director of South-South Dialogues, a Nairobi based research and development communication think tank.