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Foreign Ministry spokesperson on optimisation and adjustment of Covid response measures
2023-01-01 21:04

Question: A small number of Western media alleged that China’s COVID policy adjustment shows that  China has changed its COVID response philosophy and no longer values  people’s lives. What is your response? 

Spokesperson: This type of rhetoric completely misses the facts and scientific truth. Such rhetoric is ill-intentioned and aimed at discrediting China.

Since COVID began, China has always put the people and their lives above all else. We have made the best effort to  protect people’s life and health and poured all resources into treating every patient. Over the past three years, we have effectively responded  to five global COVID waves and avoided widespread infections with the original strain and the Delta variant, which are relatively more  pathogenic than the other variants. We have greatly reduced the number of severe cases and deaths, and bought precious time for the research,  development and application of vaccines and therapeutics, and for getting medical supplies and other resources ready. Globally speaking, China has had the lowest rates of infection and mortality. Despite the  pandemic, average life expectancy in China went up from 77.3 to 78.2 years.

During this fight against COVID-19, China has effectively coordinated COVID response with economic and social development, and refined the response policy in light of the evolving situation. With  Omicron much less pathogenic and deadly and China’s treatment, testing  and vaccination capacity steadily on the rise, China issued steps to treat COVID-19 as a Class-B instead of Class-A infectious disease,  shifting the focus of our response from stemming infection to caring for health and preventing severe cases. This shift is science-based, timely and necessary. This is also important from a strategic and long-term perspective for effectively coordinating COVID response with economic and social development and safeguarding the fundamental interests of the greatest majority of the people. As response measures are being refined, relevant Chinese departments have worked actively to beef up medical resources, set up a multi-tiered and category-based diagnosis  and treatment mechanism, and increased the production capacity and  supply of medicines. We have mobilized as many resources as possible to protect the elderly with underlying health conditions, pregnant and lying-in women, children and other key groups, and made every effort to  reduce severe cases and deaths. Over the past few days, the State Council’s joint prevention and control mechanism has explained in detail  what has been done and achieved at its press conferences.

Over  the past three years, while we adapt the COVID response to the evolving circumstances, one thing has remained unchanged, which is our commitment to putting the people and their lives first. We believe that with this commitment and with the concerted efforts of the Chinese people, victory over COVID will arrive at an early date and a brighter future is ahead  of us.

Question: Several places around the world have imposed curbs on travelers from China such as requiring them to take COVID tests after Beijing relaxed strict COVID measures. Do you have any comments on  this? 

Spokesperson: We’ve always believed that for all countries, COVID response measures need to be science-based and proportionate and apply equally to people of all countries without  affecting normal travel and people-to-people exchange and cooperation. We hope that all parties will follow a science-based response approach  and work together to ensure safe cross-border travel, keep global  industrial and supply chains stable, and contribute to global solidarity  against COVID and the world economic recovery.

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