In its race against the latest COVID-19 outbreaks, China is making all-out efforts to bring life back to normal with fine-tuned virus control measures.
Responding to sporadic outbreaks in some 30 provincial areas in the country since March, China has been adhering to a dynamic zero-COVID approach, taking swift and precise actions to curb new cases while treating the infected.
While stringent control measures inevitably lead to short-term economic pains, such an approach has proven to bring long-term gains for the economy and society as a whole.
In fact, in Shanghai and northeastern Jilin Province, two areas hardest hit by the latest outbreaks, production is starting to resume as transmission routes are cut off.
As of Monday, 496 out of the 500 major provincial-level enterprises in Jilin had resumed work and production, as the province saw positive gains in containing the virus.
On Tuesday, United States carmaker Tesla’s Shanghai factory officially resumed operation, with about 8,000 staff back to work so far, after it suspended production for over 20 days amid strict local virus control measures.
“The impact of the pandemic on domestic demand is only temporary,” said Meng Wei, a National Development and Reform Commission spokesperson.
The dynamic zero-COVID approach has proven effective in the past two years in balancing economic growth and epidemic control. China was among the very first countries to emerge from the virus’s shadow in 2020 and achieved 8.1 percent year-on-year growth in 2021.
Entering 2022, the spread of the highly transmittable Omicron variant poses new challenges. Instead of “lying flat” and abandoning social distancing measures, officials chose to make their response faster and more targeted.
Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the essence of the zero COVID-19 policy is early detection and early control.
“When we talk about the dynamic zero-COVID approach, we do not mean ‘zero infection,’” Wu said, adding that as long as the cases can be detected and controlled at the earliest possible time, the impact of the virus on the overall economy can be minimized.
While racing against time to contain the spread of the virus, officials are fine-tuning measures to avoid overly burdening the supply chain.
In a recent national teleconference, Vice Premier Liu He urged efforts to eliminate obstacles to the flow of goods across China and establish a “white list” for key firms in the industrial chain.
As the country gets the pandemic under control and policy effects gradually take hold, China’s economy will get back to normal, Meng insisted.