NEW YORK – On Sunday, China praised its own response to the coronavirus epidemic, which for the most of the previous three years had featured travel bans and flash lockdowns.
But, it also acknowledged its flaws and made a commitment to improve how Covid-19 response plans are coordinated with social and economic growth.
Government work reports said that China’s pandemic response, which was based on a rigorous zero-Covid policy up until last December, had received universal support and was very successful.
In its assessment, the government praised the Covid-19 response as “successful and well-coordinated,” adding that it had been “enhanced and altered” in light of viral mutations and the changing dynamics of epidemic prevention and control.
Additional funds were allocated for virus prevention and control in organizations that deal with international travelers and imported goods; local immunization programs received financial support; and taxes were postponed for some particularly hard-hit industries, like the hospitality and retail sectors.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) referred to the nation’s Covid-19 reaction as “really amazing” and a “miraculous feat” in its 87-page report.
Experience demonstrates that the (Communist Party of China) Central Committee’s key assessments of the epidemic’s course, its major choices on emergency measures, and its significant revisions to our response plan were all entirely accurate.
According to the report from the nation’s chief economic planner, “We won the big struggle to defend Shanghai… … responded quickly and forcefully to local breakouts.”
Better pandemic response coordination was nonetheless promised as one of the NDRC’s objectives for 2023.
It was said that a viral early-warning system would be developed, current healthcare capabilities would be enhanced, and more medical resources would be directed from metropolitan to rural regions.
The NDRC said it would endeavor to enhance cleanliness standards and better coordinate the stockpile and production of medical supplies. Bigger cities will also be urged to adapt existing homestays and rural hotels to be ready to serve emergency medical demands.
In order to strengthen our medical, sanitary, and environmental foundations for responding to large epidemics, it was said that we will act more quickly to enhance the infrastructure for health care, sanitation, and the environment.
Zero-Covid buildings in China get additional life
The economy and people in China suffered as a result of the country’s strict zero-Covid policy. In the second quarter of 2022, the economy shrank, and prolonged and frequent lockdowns caused a shortage of basic necessities including food and medication.
The majority of businesses were compelled to close, with the exception of those providing necessities, such pharmacies and supermarkets, and delivery drivers who crisscrossed the city carrying supplies to citizens’ barricaded houses. Yet when employees tested positive for Covid-19, even these firms were affected.
Domestic consumption suffered since many individuals refrained from making purchases because they weren’t sure how long the nation’s disruptive policies would last.
Several others were also concerned about internal travel for fear of running across a positive case and being prevented from going back home.
Protests that started in late November in numerous cities, including Shanghai, Wuhan, and the capital Beijing, brought the situation to a climax.
But two weeks later, Beijing abruptly changed its zero-Covid policy, and a surge of diseases swept the nation, leading to extended wait times for cremations, a shortage of cold and fever drugs, and overcrowding in hospitals.