In his first address to the public on Covid-19 since his administration reversed direction and loosened its strict policy of lockdowns and mass testing three weeks ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged for more effort and unity as the nation enters a “new phase” in its strategy to combat the pandemic.
Xi said that China had surmounted previously unheard-of obstacles and hurdles in the fight against COVID-19 and that its policies had been “optimised” when the occasion and timing called for it. The address was broadcast to celebrate the New Year.
His government reversed course three weeks ago and loosened its strict policy of shutdowns and mass testing, so he made his first public remarks on COVID-19 on Saturday. “At the moment, epidemic prevention and control are entering a new phase,” he remarked.
“The morning is ahead, but it is still a time of struggle. Everyone is enduring and working hard. Work harder, please. Victory is won through tenacity and solidarity.”
China abruptly abandoned its “zero-COVID” policy earlier this month after upholding it for over three years, which allowed diseases to spread unchecked throughout the nation.
Additionally, it has led to a further decline in economic activity and increased diplomatic concern, with Britain and France being the most recent nations to implement restrictions on Chinese travel.
China made the change in response to enormous public protests against the Xi-backed programme, which marked the largest display of public resistance during his ten years in office and came at the same time as dismal economic growth estimates for the $17 trillion nation.
Beijing ended its renowned zero-Covid programme, which it had used for nearly three years and was based on mass testing, centralised quarantine, and lockdowns, earlier this month.
The policy change has caused a wave of diseases to sweep the nation, a further decline in economic activity, and worldwide alarm, leading Britain and France to become the latest nations to place restrictions on visitors from China.