SCIO briefing on government work report

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China News Service:

The government work report said that China has achieved a major strategic success in the fight against COVID-19. Could you elaborate on our achievements? What should be done next? Thank you.

Guo Wei:

COVID-19 is the most serious global pandemic seen for nearly a century. After the outbreak, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core made epidemic prevention and control the top priority. General Secretary Xi Jinping gave immediate instructions, took charge of the COVID-19 response, made people's lives and health the first priority, and adopted resolute measures in the battle against the novel coronavirus. Premier Li Keqiang chaired multiple meetings of the Central Leading Group for Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control and made specific arrangements. Thanks to the resolute decisions made by the CPC Central Committee, the coordination of different localities and departments, and through the concerted efforts of the Chinese people, we achieved a major success in our response to COVID-19. In around a month, the fast spread of the virus was contained; in around two months, the daily increase of domestic coronavirus cases had fallen to single digits; and in approximately three months, a decisive victory was secured in the battle to defend Hubei province and its capital city Wuhan. In response to evolving epidemic dynamics, we made timely adjustments to our response approaches. We improved routine control mechanisms, reopened the economy and resumed normal life in low-risk areas, suppressed several regional outbreaks of the epidemic, and consolidated our achievements in controlling COVID-19.

We have withstood the test of COVID-19 and protected the health and safety of the Chinese people. More importantly, after the epidemic, Chinese people of all ethnic groups are more united as one, more patriotic, and more confident in the vitality and advantage of our national system and our state governance system, which will bring long-lasting effects to our future development.

As the pandemic continues around the world, the government work report has made arrangements for the next step under the requirements of the CPC Central Committee on epidemic prevention and control as well as socioeconomic development. It stresses a more coordinated way to carry out COVID-19 prevention and control and pursue socioeconomic development. I think, first, we're going to improve our routine prevention and control measures and boost our capacity with science-based precise measures. We will minimize the impact of our COVID-19 response on our work and life, increase testing for high-risk personnel and areas, and identify risks in a timely fashion. Second, we will increase our emergency response ability. We should ensure readiness and supply so that, in case of sudden outbreaks, we can identify control zones, and conduct COVID-19 testing, contact tracing and carry out medical treatment. Of course, we need to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach and imposing extra requirements in the name of epidemic control. Third, we will continue to promote vaccine research and its free roll-out. Currently, we have conditionally approved four COVID-19 vaccines for public use. In the next step, we will continue to intensify our efforts in R&D, improve vaccine production and supply, step up supervision of the supply chain, standardize vaccination procedures, and ensure the quality of the vaccine as well as safe vaccination. At the same time, we will continuously monitor and study mutant COVID-19 strains, and speed up our R&D of drugs and treatment, in order to increase our capacity for treating COVID-19.

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