No relief for the people: China to ‘unswervingly’ stick to its zero-COVID policy, says health official


China’s strict zero-Covid rules have been in place for more than two years and during this time, many cases of the troubles citizens have faced due to them have come to light. Recent reports suggested that the disruptive rules may soon be taken down. However, on Saturday health officials dashed this hope and said that China would “unswervingly” stick to the policy.

The announcement as per the Guardian comes after days of speculation around the rules that have disrupted economic growth and day-to-day life in China.

Watch | China sticks to its ‘Zero Covid’ policy, insists it being key to protecting people’s lives

As per reports currently, there are roughly 200 lockdowns in place across China.

Hu Xiang, disease control officer with China’s national health commission, said Wednesday that the nation’s restrictions were the most sensible and efficient course of action.

Also read | ‘3 years of COVID was his entire life’: In China, child dies due to lockdown rules, father offered hush money

Talking to reporters, she said, “We should adhere to the principle of putting people and lives first, and the broader strategy of preventing imports from outside and internal rebounds.”

This, as just a few days back as per a Reuters report, a former Chinese disease control official during a conference claimed that substantial changes to the country’s “dynamic-Zero” COVID policy are expected in the coming months.

Speaking at a session titled “China’s Exit Strategy from Zero-COVID”, Zeng Guang, former chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said that “the situation is changing now and China’s ‘dynamic zero’ will also undergo major changes. Substantive changes will happen soon.”

Also read | COVID-19: Day after hitting a six-month high, China reports over 3,800 new cases

Reportedly, a three-year-old boy’s death in a residential compound that was under quarantine had fueled growing dissatisfaction with the anti-virus regulations. This had also sparked rumours of policy changes. 

With investors and the general public latching on to any signals of change, last week’s talk of easing had boosted stock markets in China, and by Wednesday the MSCI China Index had gained $450 billion.

Thursday saw the country report a six-month high of 4,045 new infections. A day later the number fell a bit to 3,837. 

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