China says will optimize anti-pandemic measures next year

Beijing/Shanghai, Dec. 7 (EFE).- The leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), during a meeting, called to “optimize” anti-pandemic measures during the coming year as the country begins to relax several restrictions under its the “Zero-Covid” policy, state media reported Wednesday.

The 24-member CPC Politburo, chaired by President Xi Jinping, stressed that China will aim to better coordinate epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development, according to Xinhua agency.

The Politburo meeting also discussed economic issues focusing on a general improvement with stabilizing growth, employment and prices, as well as preventing and effectively defusing major risks.

The CPC leadership also wanted to ensure the continuity of its fiscal and monetary policy, while insisting on the promotion of technological development to make China no longer dependent on other countries.

In recent days, the authorities, through articles and interviews of experts on state media, have been underlining a lesser health risk from the omicron variant.

This comes at a time when China has begun to ease some of the measures under its stringent Zero-Covid policy, which has been in place for almost three years.

Some of the tough measures include the isolation of all infected persons and their close contacts, strict border controls, partial or total lockdown of areas where cases are detected, and constant PCR tests of the urban population.

Last week, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, in charge of overseeing the Zero-Covid policy, underlined the low pathogenicity of the virus and the high vaccination rate of more than 90 percent among the population.

In this regard, some cities have begun to relax the strict Covid prevention measures.

In cities such as Beijing, a PCR test done within 48 hours is no longer required to enter supermarkets and offices, but it is required to enter restaurants and other similar spaces.

The changes come after protests broke out in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Wuhan, where slogans were raised against repeated PCR tests and calling for a return of personal freedom.

The Chinese government has also stressed on the need to “accelerate” the vaccination of the elderly, one of the most vulnerable groups but also one of the most reluctant to be inoculated.

A total 5,235 people have died in China due to the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to official figures. EFE


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