Over the past three years, China has always been putting people’s lives and health first and adapting its COVID-19 response in light of the evolving situation, in efforts widely believed to have bought precious time for a smooth transition.
The country has achieved a major and decisive victory in its COVID-19 prevention and control since November 2022, the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee said at a meeting on Thursday.
It has been proved that the CPC’s major judgment, policy decision and strategy adjustment on COVID-19 are completely correct, said the meeting, which was presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.
“The measures are effective. The people recognize them. And the achievement is huge,” it said.
China has kept optimizing and adjusting its COVID-19 prevention and control measures since November 2022, with the focus on protecting people’s health and preventing severe cases.
In a major shift in its response policies, the country started to manage COVID-19 with measures designed for combating Class B infectious diseases, instead of Class A infectious diseases since January 8, 2023.
It was noted at Thursday’s meeting that China has realized a stable transition in its epidemic prevention and control stages in a relatively short period of time.
With more than 200 million people having received medical treatment and nearly 800,000 seriously ill patients effectively cured since November, China has kept its COVID-19 death rates among the lowest in the world.
“We have achieved a major and decisive victory in terms of epidemic prevention and control, creating a miracle in the history of human civilization in which a country with a huge population successfully emerges from a pandemic,” said the meeting.
A new phase
As China’s COVID-19 response enters a new phase, the country has been speeding up efforts to consolidate what has been achieved over the years in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is important to strengthen epidemic monitoring capacity and improve regular early warning systems by establishing a sound surveillance and reporting mechanism, the meeting of the CPC leadership pointed out.
It also called for efforts to make a scientific plan for next-stage vaccinations, in particular to increase the vaccination rates of the elderly.
In face of the evolving COVID-19 strains, China has also stepped up the nation-wide promotion of booster shots. According to an updated action plan released by the State Council joint COVID-19 prevention and control mechanism, nine combinations of booster vaccines developed in different technical routes, including vaccines providing good cross immunity against the Omicron strain, are now available.
Thursday’s meeting also underscored efforts to guarantee the production and supply of medical supplies, and improve their coordinated deployment mechanism.
Efforts should also be made to advance scientific and technological breakthroughs in the health sector in a coordinated manner, and improve the level of life and health science and technology, the meeting concluded.