CHINA: China will continue to fine-tune its COVID-19 control measures to reduce infections and serious cases; this decision was taken a day after unexpected announcements were made to mitigate the effects of a serious zero-COVID policy.
China has made a new effort to fine-tune the COVID-19 policy
Today, on Saturday (November 12,2022), China’s senior health officials have cleared up the doubt by describing the earlier announced sweeping overhaul to its COVID Zero playbook as a set of rules rather than a relaxing of safeguards.
The new move to keep the COVID-19 policy fine-tuned by China’s officials has made financial markets cheer, despite a rise in infections to their highest level since late April, according to statistics released on Saturday, with outbreaks in important cities including Beijing, Guangzhou, and Chongqing.
In the softening measures announced on Friday, shorter quarantines for incoming travellers and those in close contact with infected people were implemented. Quarantines were limited to eight days rather than 10, with the first five days being spent in a central facility.
China’s strict regulations have hampered the second-largest economy in the world, hurting business operations and aggravating locals with lockdowns, quarantines, frequent testing, and travel delays.
“We don’t rule out the possibility of further optimising and adjusting our quarantine measures as new virus variants keep coming, our understanding of the disease deepens, and the epidemic situation changes both at home and abroad,” researcher Wang Liping from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention said at a news conference on Saturday in Beijing.
China will continue to identify close contacts but will no longer seek out “secondary” contacts, a strategy that traps many urban people in contact-tracing attempts after the discovery of a case, officials said on Friday.
Lei Haichao, the deputy head of the National Health Commission (NHC), stated at the news briefing that the measures will relieve bottlenecks, such as a lack of quarantine rooms and contact-tracing personnel.
As per Jiang Shuai, a 27-year-old finance professional in Beijing, “A complete reopening is still unrealistic at this moment. But in terms of the COVID-19 vaccine and therapy, we can anticipate better things in the future.”
Lei noted that China has considerably fewer hospital beds per capita than Western nations and that China will continue to pursue “as few infections and as few serious, critical cases as possible” through a prevention-focused strategy.
The NHC recorded 11,950 new COVID infections for Friday, a modest number by international standards but an increase over the 10,729 cases reported the day before.
In light of rising case numbers in numerous major cities, Goldman Sachs stated that it continues to see downside risks to China’s near-term economic development and referred to the measures as having a “marginal economic impact.”
Guangzhou, the city in south with a population of over 19 million, reported 3,180 locally transmitted infections on Friday, an increase from 2,583 the day before.
According to local government data, Beijing had 68 symptomatic and 48 asymptomatic cases, compared to 64 symptomatic and 54 asymptomatic instances the day before.
The capital of China is experiencing daily testing in numerous sectors despite continued economic problems. In order to conduct COVID control and preventive measures, the upmarket SKP retail centre in the sizable Chaoyang neighbourhood announced that it would be closed on Saturday.