Why a dynamic zero-COVID policy remains China’s best option

Chen Chuandong
Chen Chuandong is the Chinese Ambassador to Jordan.
Recently, China has been fighting multiple sporadic and a few clustered outbreaks of COVID-19 infections. Some Jordanian friends are concerned about the pandemic situation in China and wonder why China still sticks to a “dynamic zero-COVID” policy instead of taking the “live with the virus” approach adopted by other countries. At the same time, other western media outlets have accused China’s policy of being too rigid and impacting the global supply chain and economic recovery.اضافة اعلان

A health worker prepares to take a swab sample to be tested for the COVID-19 in the Jing’an district of Shanghai on May 31, 2022, as the city prepares to lift more curbs after two months of heavy-handed restrictions. (Photo: AFP) 

What I wish to tell you is that the dynamic zero-COVID policy has been developed based on China’s own national conditions and its experiences in fighting the pandemic. It has withstood the test of waves of outbreaks and has proven to be effective and the best option.

The dynamic zero-COVID policy safeguards people’s lives and well-being

China has a huge population of over 1.4 billion, with more than 267 million elderly people over 60. The nation’s aggregate medical resources are still inadequate, with considerable gaps between regions, and urban and rural areas. If China chose to “live with the virus”, it would likely suffer massive outbreaks in short periods, overwhelming the public health system, seriously threatening vulnerable groups such as people with underlying conditions and the elderly, resulting in many severe cases and fatalities.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China’s overall infection rate and fatality rate have remained among the lowest globally. Accumulated fatalities on the mainland have been kept at around 5,000. According to experts’ estimates, should China drop its dynamic zero-COVID policy, and assuming that its infection rate and fatality rate were close to the global average, nearly 50 million people would be affected, and 1 million would die.

This is unacceptable whether measured against the Chinese government’s people-centered doctrine or based on the ethics of the Chinese nation. Firmly adhering to the dynamic zero-COVID policy is to safeguard people’s lives and well-being to the greatest extent.

The dynamic zero-COVID policy safeguards economic development

When people’s health and lives are still under significant threat, rash resumption of work and production is like a tree without roots and therefore unsustainable. Some countries and regions relaxed pandemic control measures too early and too soon, causing big waves of infection, thus eventually compelled to reintroduce controls and lockdowns. Premature lifting of controls led to spikes of severe cases, labor shortage, and production at low capacity, throwing business operations into rollercoasters.

By coordinating pandemic control with economic development, China has been the fastest-growing major economy for two consecutive years. In the first quarter of this year, even as several major cities were severely affected by the Omicron variant, China’s economy and foreign trade increased by 4.8 percent and 10.7 percent, respectively, year-on-year, underlying stable fundamentals of the economy.
Through its dynamic zero-COVID policy, China not only protects its own security and creates conditions for stable economic development but has also safeguarded the global industrial and supply chains, making important contributions to global economic stability and growth.
It turns out that effective control of the pandemic is a prerequisite for restoring production and life to normal and achieving economic and social development.

The dynamic zero-COVID policy is science-based and targeted

This strategy is not to pursue “zero infection”. Its essence is to cut off continuous community transmission through four early measures (early detection, early reporting, early quarantine, early treatment), technological support, social mobilization, closed-loop production, and other integrated efforts. It is aimed to contain an outbreak in the shortest time with the lowest social cost, thus keeping normal production and normal life for most regions and the majority of residents. In this process, relations between short-term and long-term goals, local and overall interests, and individual and collective interests are properly handled to achieve a dynamic balance between fighting the pandemic and sustaining economic development.

Over the past two years and more, China has accumulated a set of effective dynamic zero-COVID experiences and continues to fine-tune this strategy as the situation evolves. In the early days of the outbreak, China won the battle to defend Wuhan in only three months and maintained zero infections and zero deaths locally for a long period of time. In the face of the highly contagious and hard-to-detect Omicron variant, Shanghai, a mega-city with a population of over 25 million, has tackled it by sticking to the dynamic zero-COVID strategy.

The shock wave has been effectively contained, and people’s lives and production have been fully restored.

The dynamic zero-COVID policy helps the global fight against the pandemic

Through its dynamic zero-COVID policy, China not only protects its own security and creates conditions for stable economic development but has also safeguarded the global industrial and supply chains, making important contributions to global economic stability and growth. China is an active advocate and promoter of international cooperation against the pandemic. China has provided over 2.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations. China has engaged with every Arab country in cooperation against the pandemic, built vaccine production lines in the UAE, Egypt, and other countries, and provided vaccine assistance to the countries in the region, the Palestinian people, and refugees, which helps countries build immunization barriers, speed up the resumption of work and production, and boost confidence and strength for the global fight against the pandemic.

The cooperation between China and Jordan is exemplary

China and Jordan have different national conditions and therefore adopted different approaches and measures in fighting the pandemic. Still, we share the same philosophy: to put people’s safety and well-being first. Under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah, Jordan has taken a successful path that suits its own national conditions. People’s lives are gradually ridding the impact of the pandemic, tourism and other industries are fully recovering, and the rebound of the economy is gaining momentum, which we are heartened to see.

China and Jordan have stood together and helped each other throughout the fight against the pandemic, adding substance to the strategic partnership between our two countries and providing impetus to building a global community of health for all.

The pandemic is not over. All countries should embrace the spirit of science and solidarity, abandon ideological bigotry and political confrontation, respect and support each other, continue to carry out international cooperation, and join hands to clinch the final victory against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The writer is the Chinese Ambassador to Jordan.

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