China further optimizes COVID-19 response with new measures
By Zhong Yin, People’s Daily Local authorities across China have soon made specific policies to implement the 10 new prevention and control measures recently rolled out by the country on further optimizing the COVID-19 response, so as to contain the epidemic in a more science-based and targeted manner. According to the 10 new measures, China will optimize nucleic acid testing, and quarantine measures imposed on high-risk areas must be lifted if no new infections are reported for five consecutive days. Besides, quarantine measures for COVID-19 patients and response measures at certain locations will be optimized. The new measures ensure people’s basic needs to purchase medication and underline the need to accelerate vaccination rates especially for the elderly. They will also ensure smooth logistics and enhance the efforts to protect groups at higher-risk . Over the recent three years, China has been closely monitoring the changes in the virus and the disease, continuously optimizing the prevention and control strategy and measures based on the situation and looking for the best plan.. China has issued nine editions of COVID-19 control protocols, rolled out a series of measures to optimize pandemic control, and effectively responded to more than 100 regional outbreaks at home and five global resurgences. The country has effectively coped with the uncertain pandemic with stable strategies and flexible control measures. China’s practice fully indicates that its COVID-19 response has to a very large extent protected the lives and safety of the Chinese people and facilitated people’s life, production and investment. With the weakening pathogenicity of the Omicron, increasing uptake of vaccination and growing disease response experiences, China’s COVID-19 prevention and control work is facing new situations and new tasks. The 10 new measures represent further optimization of the country’s ninth edition of COVID-19 control protocols and part of the 20 measures announced in November this year based on the features of the virus and the development of the pandemic. The optimized measures, which match the new COVID-19 dynamics and the features of the Omicron variant, are expected to make China’s COVID-19 control more science-based and targeted. They will make more efficient use of prevention and control resources, better coordinate epidemic prevention and control with economic and social development, and better ensure people’s life and production as well as the demand for healthcare. It must be realized that these measures are made proactively, rather than passively. The don’t mean relaxation of COVID-19 control, let alone the so-called “lying flat.” China has a huge population and a large number of senior residents, as well as massive patients of chronic and underlying diseases. It doesn’t have sufficient medical resources and the distribution of such resources remains uneven between regions. The new measures target at the features of the dominant variant of the coronavirus in China as well as the epidemiological characteristics. They take into consideration the current COVID-19 dynamics and the assessment on the effectiveness of the current control measures. They also learn from the beneficial experiences accumulated across China. The 10 new measures are exactly a concrete step taken to implement the people-centered philosophy that puts people and their lives and health in the first place, as well as a step that further optimizes prevention and control measures. By ramping up the vaccination drive, especially among the elderly, and preparing more medical and healthcare resources, the new measures will enhance China’s capacity in pandemic prevention and control and lay a solid foundation for further optimization.
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