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China’s refinement of COVID response measures can stand the test of history

The past three years have witnessed joint international efforts against COVID-19. To make decisions in light of the evolving situation and respond in a science-based and targeted manner is an important experience of China in fighting the pandemic – writes the Chinese Embassy in Belgium.

Not long ago, on the basis of a comprehensive assessment of the mutation of the virus, the COVID situation, and ongoing response efforts, China made the decision to manage COVID-19 with measures against Class-B instead of the more serious Class-A infectious diseases in accordance with the law, and formulated and released the provisional measures on cross-border travel.

This will help to more effectively coordinate the COVID response with economic and social development, and make people-to-people exchange between China and other countries more convenient, orderly, efficient and safer. China’s efforts to fight COVID-19 over the past three years are fully recognized by insightful members of the international community. Anyone unbiased can see that China has protected the lives and health of the people and reduced the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development to the maximum extent possible.

Facts are the best myth-busters. Over the past three years, upholding the principle of putting the people and their lives front and centre, China has mobilized as many resources as possible to protect the life and health of all the Chinese people, effectively responded to different COVID waves, avoided widespread infections with the original strain and the Delta variant, and greatly reduced the number of severe cases and deaths.

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According to WTO data, by October 2022, COVID infection rate in China is 70 per 100,000 people, and the death rate is 0.4 per 100,000 people, both are the lowest in the world. It has been proven that China is one of the least-affected countries and best performers in responding to the pandemic, which is clear to the international community. With Omicron much less pathogenic and deadly and China’s treatment, testing and vaccination capacity steadily on the rise, China has taken the initiative to refine its COVID response measures. This it science-based, timely and necessary.

Countries adjusting the COVID policy would invariably go through a period of adaptation. China is no exception as we shift gear in our COVID policy. China’s COVID situation on the whole remains predictable and under control. Beijing is the first city to have gone through the infection peak, where life and work are coming back to normal.

Ticket orders for Beijing city attractions and traffic during morning rush hours have been surging, and visits to shopping malls have also been increasing notably. The hustle and bustle is returning to the city. Relevant Chinese departments have made scientific assessments of the potential peaks in other provinces and cities. They have made the necessary preparations and are confident that this process of policy adjustment and shifting of focus will go ahead in a steady and orderly way.

Recently, a small number of countries have imposed restrictive measures on inbound Chinese travellers. Such an approach is not science-based. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and some famous Belgian virologists have made it clear that the variant spreading in China has been circulating in EU countries, so the risk of imported infections from China is quite low.

American, British, German and other foreign chambers of commerce in China, and some foreign diplomatic missions in China noted that China’s COVID policy adjustment will clear the way for the resumption of people-to-people exchange and business travel, and rebuild foreign investors’ confidence in the Chinese market. There are more countries that have said that they welcome China’s policy on facilitating cross-border travel and will not adjust their entry measures for travellers arriving from China.

Looking back over the past three years into the pandemic, when China adopted the dynamic zero COVID policy, some people falsely accused China of ignoring civil rights and setting restrictions on people-to-people exchange; when China refined the response measures according to the evolving situation, it is these people again who slandered China for not paying attention to people’s lives and bringing health threats to other countries. They have been obsessed with a “democracy versus autocracy” narrative on any topic while turning a blind eye to the deficiencies in their own countries’ COVID response. Such contradictory double standards are contemptible.

It requires concerted efforts to prevail over the pandemic. We hope to see more objective and rational views while less ideological prejudice and political manipulation from the international community and relevant sides, so as to view China’s COVID response effects, situation and policy adjustments from a correct perspective. China will work with other countries to follow a science-based approach, facilitate safe and orderly cross-border travel, and contribute to global solidarity against COVID and the world economic recovery.

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