China enters ‘new stage and mission’ for Covid-19 control: official says after protests

By | November 30, 2022


China’s most senior official in charge of its Covid response told health officials on Wednesday that the country faced a “new stage and mission” in controlling the pandemic, state media Xinhua reported – potentially indicating an adjustment in strategy” zero-Covid” from Beijing, which led to days of protests across the country.

“With the decreasing toxicity of the Omicron variant, the increasing vaccination rate, and the accumulated experience of controlling and preventing outbreaks, China’s pandemic containment faces a new stage and mission,” said Sun Chunlan, Vice Premier of China. , on Wednesday, according to Xinhua.

Not to mention “zero-Covid”, his comments, as reported by Xinhua, come a day after China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said rectification of current pandemic measures is underway and local governments must “respond” and resolve reasonable demands”. of the masses” in a timely manner.

At a meeting with the NHC on Wednesday, Sun also stated that a “human-centric approach” must be adopted and China must improve its “diagnosis, testing, treatment and quarantine” measures, continue to increase vaccination rates. – especially among the elderly – and bolstering medicines and medical resources.

Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan did not mention

The understated rhetoric comes as authorities in Guangzhou indicate they are moving forward to ease Covid-19 containment measures, after the southern metropolis saw protesters clash with police on Tuesday night.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Zhang Yi, spokesman for Guangzhou’s health commission, said the city has adjusted the designation of risk levels and pandemic containment measures – to varying degrees – in all its eleven districts.

Lockdowns in four districts – Liwan, Baiyun, Tianhe and Haizhu – have been lifted, while lockdowns remain in areas designated as high risk.

Guangzhou will stop sending all close contacts of Covid-19 patients to central quarantine facilities and allow some to self-isolate at home if they meet the requirements, Zhang said.

The city will also no longer roll out mass Covid-19 testing across the district. “All districts should carry out tests in a scientific manner,” added Zhang.

On Tuesday, Guangzhou reported 6,995 new local cases, Zhang said. China reported 37,612 new local cases nationwide on Tuesday, the NHC said on Wednesday.

China has moved quickly to quell demonstrations that have erupted across the country against the government’s Covid-zero policy in recent days, deploying police forces at major protest sites and tightening online censorship.

The protests were sparked by a deadly fire last Thursday in Urumqi, capital of the far western region of Xinjiang. The fire killed at least 10 people and injured nine at an apartment building – leading to public fury after videos of the incident appeared to show that lockdown measures had delayed firefighters from reaching victims.

Public protest is extremely rare in China, where the Communist Party has tightened its grip on all aspects of life, launched a sweeping crackdown on dissent, eliminated much of civil society and built a high-tech surveillance state.

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