SCIO press conference on upholding dynamic zero-COVID policy to prevent, control COVID-19

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, April 30, 2022
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Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you, Mr. Li Bin. Now the floor is open. Please identify your media outlet before raising your questions. 


Some people think that China is a large country with different situations in different places. Thus the dynamic zero-COVID policy should be flexible and adjusted to reflect local conditions. I wonder what your take on that is? Also, is it possible to co-exist with the coronavirus in some places and adopt the dynamic zero-COVID policy in other areas? Thank you. 

Li Bin:

Thank you for your questions. This has drawn the attention of both the press and the general public. COVID-19 prevention and control is an all-out war, and therefore we need to think of the big picture and ensure a coordinated national response. Only when the pandemic is brought under control can we safeguard people's life and health and create favorable conditions for people's everyday life and work. Only when every city in China sticks to a dynamic zero-COVID policy and contains its local outbreak can the entire country win the fight against the pandemic. If certain areas do not resolutely uphold the dynamic zero-COVID policy, while trying to make an exception, the virus could spread and rapidly cause an outbreak. These places could even become an transmitter and amplifier of the outbreak, leading to spillover to other cities and regions, causing heavy loss of people's life and property, and severely affecting social and economic development. 

But under the general dynamic zero-COVID policy, we encourage local areas to explore good experiences and measures according to their particular situations in order to be more scientific and precise in COVID prevention and control and achieve maximum results with minimum costs. Thank you. 

Beijing Youth Daily:

Some people argue that though Omicron spreads quickly, many of the infected show mild or no symptoms, and thus China could choose to "lie flat" when responding to COVID. I wonder what your take on this is? Thank you. 

Li Bin:

This argument has also drawn the attention of many people. I'll ask Mr. Liang Wannian to take it. 

Liang Wannian:

Thank you. From a global perspective, countries choose their COVID prevention and control strategies and measures based on their prevention and control principle. China's principle has always been putting people first and putting life first. In other words, it is people-centered and health-centered. Under this principle, we adopted the general dynamic zero-COVID policy and have continuously optimized and improved our measures according to the changes in the pandemic. Through our efforts, we managed to protect our people from the harm brought by so-called herd immunity and natural immunity, protect the health and life of the overwhelming majority of our people, and protect the everyday life, work, and economic development of the largest areas of China. 

Some countries have two kinds of immunity. On is natural herd immunity, which, means that people get infected naturally by COVID-19, and then a large percentage of the population gets infected. The other is vaccination-induced immunity. China achieves its immunity through vaccination and build a safety net. Currently, more than 3.3 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered on the Chinese mainland, covering 90% of its population. However, disparities remain. In particular, the gaps in vaccination rates in different ages and regions still exist. If we work harder to raise the vaccination rate for vulnerable groups like the elderly and children, we can set up proactive immunity barriers. Compared with uncontrollable passive immunity, we prefer proactive immunity.

As a country with a large population, China faces imbalanced development among regions, shortages of medical resources, and inequality in resource distribution. As I have mentioned earlier, the vaccination rates for the elderly and the children are not high enough generally. In the face of repeated outbreaks, if we choose the so-called policy of coexisting with the virus, medical resources would be very likely to be overwhelmed, thus threatening the health of patients with background diseases, elderly people, children, and the pregnant. Meanwhile, that would deal a heavy blow to economic and social development. Under such circumstances, we must stick to the general principle of dynamic zero-COVID. Indeed, we must improve and optimize prevention and control measures during the time window. If we step up efforts in vaccination and accelerate R&D of medicines and vaccines, I think we can seize the chance. We will defeat the virus if we have a high vaccination coverage, especially for those older people and other vulnerable groups, all localities are well equipped with medical resources, quarantine beds, effective medicines applicable in a large scale, material supplies, and emergency mechanisms, the virus becomes milder without worse or new variations and an acceptable death rate, and we make use of the time saved by the dynamic zero-COVID policy.

Thank you.

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