BEIJING, Nov 5 (Reuters) – China will continue its “dynamic elimination” approach to COVID-19 cases as soon as they emerge, health officials said on Saturday, adding that measures need to be implemented more precisely and meet the needs of vulnerable people. people.
The country’s strict COVID containment approach is still able to control the virus, despite the high transmissibility of COVID variants and asymptomatic carriers, an official with China’s National Health Commission told a press conference. .
China’s zero-COVID policy includes rigorous lockdowns, quarantines and testing, aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
When asked if there would be a policy change in the near term, disease control official Hu Xiang said China’s measures were “completely correct, as well as the most economical and most effective”.
“We must adhere to the principle of putting people and lives first, and the broader strategy of preventing imports from outside and rebounds within,” she said.
The briefing followed a week in which markets surged on hopes China would ease restrictions, tightened on Friday when a former disease control official told a banking conference that China would make changes “substantial” to COVID policy in the coming months.
Some areas had been guilty of “one size fits all” unscientific closures, officials said, citing the southwestern cities of Nanchong and Bijie, and officials in Zhengzhou city in central Henan province, for deliberately turning the health codes of thousands of citizens red. .
“We attach great importance to these issues and are fixing them,” said Tuo Jia, another disease control official.
Epidemic-hit areas should meet the needs of the elderly, sick, disabled, young and pregnant, Tuo said.
Officials said they would start pushing to increase vaccinations among the elderly, noting that while 86.35% of citizens aged 60 and over are fully vaccinated, fewer people aged 80 and over have been vaccinated and received reminders.
China reported 3,837 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, including 657 symptomatic and 3,180 asymptomatic, down slightly from the six-month high of 4,045 new COVID-19 infections reported the previous day.
Guangzhou officials said on Saturday the southern megacity was facing its worst and most complicated outbreak in three years of the virus, with 111 new locally transmitted symptomatic cases and 635 asymptomatic cases reported a day earlier. (Reporting by Ryan Woo in Beijing and David Kirton in Shenzhen; Editing by Michael Perry and William Mallard)