Fighting Covid-19 together for a bright future

A woman walks past shops, after the government eased curbs on the control of Covid-19 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Picture: Reuters

A woman walks past shops, after the government eased curbs on the control of Covid-19 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Picture: Reuters

Published Jan 5, 2023


Pretoria - Recently, China made the decision to manage Covid-19 with measures against Class-B instead of the more serious Class-A infectious diseases.

Nucleic acid tests and centralised quarantine will no longer be conducted on inbound travellers upon arrival. Passenger capacity limits on international flights have been removed.

The focus of our response has shifted from stemming infection to preventing severe cases and caring for health. This is conducive to a smooth transition of Covid-19 response phases as well as quicker socio-economic recovery in China, and will provide solid support for a full and final victory against Covid.

China keeps to the original aspiration and puts the people and life above all else. President Xi Jinping pointed out: “Since Covid-19 struck, we have put the people first and put life first all along to protect the life and health of the people to the greatest extent possible.”

This has been China’s consistent approach in the fight against Covid-19, which reflects China’s socialist values. In the face of the sudden onslaught of the epidemic caused by an unknown virus, the Chinese government has given top priority to improving the cure rate and reducing the fatality rate. We have done our best to treat and rescue each and every one of the infected, from newborns to centenarians.

As we entered the phase of regular prevention and control, China refined the response measures by keeping them science-based, targeted and responsive to the evolving situation. We have stood the test of five waves of worldwide spread of the epidemic, and successfully prevented large-scale transmission of the original virus and Delta strains, which are relatively more virulent than other strains, in China.

Our success has won universal recognition from the international community, including the World Health Organization (WHO).

China fights the virus with perseverance on the principle of seeking truth from facts, and refines response measures in light of the evolving situation. As an ancient Chinese philosopher put it, when things change in the world, the way of doing things should also change accordingly. As China’s epidemic response has entered a new stage, the conditions are ripe for a shift in prevention and control policies. Currently, the new variants appear to have shorter incubation period and significantly less virulence, and are expected to gradually evolve into a common respiratory infectious disease.

Most of the infected have little or mild symptoms and the rate of serious illness and mortality is extremely low. China’s medical and disease control system has withstood the test of the epidemic for three years. According to the latest figures from the WHO, there have been more than 651 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 worldwide and more than 6.65 million deaths.

Chen Xiaodong is the Chinese Ambassador to South Africa. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

While China accounts for 18.32% of the world’s population, it only takes up 0.08% of the world’s deaths caused by Covid-19. Globally, China has the lowest rate of severe illness and mortality and its average life expectancy has risen from 77.3 to 78.2 years.

In this context, it is science-based, timely and necessary for China to take the initiative to optimise the anti-epidemic measures, with the aim of maximising the safety and health of the people while minimising the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development.

Refining prevention and control policies does not mean doing nothing, but channelling more resources to vaccination, protection and timely treatment for high-risk groups such as the elderly and those with underlying diseases, so as to minimise severe diseases and deaths. The new policy will help restore normalcy to people’s work and life, meet regular medical and health needs, and minimise the impact of Covid-19 on economic and social undertakings.

The Chinese government responds to people’s concerns and makes conscientious efforts to co-ordinate epidemic response with socio-economic development. Epidemic response is a matter of life and death, while socio-economic development is vital to people’s livelihoods.

China’s adequate preparations of vaccines and treatment drugs have laid the foundation for the overall predictability and control of the epidemic. The Chinese government has inoculated 1.4 billion people with more than 3.4 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine, covering 92% of the total population. Over 90% of the population have been fully vaccinated.

China has 13 types of Covid-19 vaccines available, with an annual vaccine production capacity of more than 7 billion doses. Multiple measures have been adopted to ensure the production capacity of various anti-Covid medicine.

The output of traditional Chinese medicine, which is preferred by the Chinese people, has basically met market demand, and the supply of Western medicine has significantly improved. Meanwhile, China is actively engaged in international medical co-operation and has approved the import of Covid-19 treatment drugs produced by Pfizer and other foreign manufacturers.

While doing its best to keep the epidemic under control, the Chinese government has stepped up efforts to minimise the impact on economic and social development. In 2020, China was the world’s only major economy to achieve growth.

In the past three years, China’s economy grew at an average annual rate of about 4.5%, significantly higher than the world average.

With the improvement of the epidemic prevention and control measures, the confidence of investors and consumers has been further stimulated, the resumption of work and production has accelerated and the recovery of business has picked up pace.

Ninety percent of companies of designated size – with a revenue of more than RMB20 million per annum – have resumed operations; over 70% of scenic spots have resumed business; railway freight has continued to operate at a high level and passenger flow has surged significantly.

The streets in China are now full of cars, the shopping malls are crowded with people, the restaurants are filled with customers. As the familiar hustle and bustle come back, the Chinese people stand together more united, confident and optimistic.

China has boosted confidence and contributed to global epidemic response and economic recovery. China has not only safeguarded the lives and health of its own people, but also made important contributions to the global fight against Covid-19. China was the first to make vaccines a global public good. It has provided more than 2.2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine to more than 120 countries and international organisations, a large amount of supplies to more than 150 countries and 15 international organisations, and made donations to the WHO.

With an open, transparent and responsible attitude, China has been sharing information with other countries since the very beginning of the epidemic. The Chinese authorities have shared viral genetic data of recent Covid-19 infections in China through the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data.

China will continue to monitor the mutation of the virus in a joint effort to tackle the epidemic challenge with the rest of the world.

Recently, the Chinese government released the provisional measures on cross-border travel to further refine arrangements for foreign nationals’ entry into China for such purposes as resumption of work, business and education, as well as arrangements for outbound travel for Chinese citizens.

Many countries, including South Africa, have responded warmly to welcome Chinese tourists. We appreciate the statement by the South African Department of Health about its decision to not impose restrictions on travellers arriving from China.

With these recent measures in place, it’s believed that the stable and smooth functioning of global industrial and supply chains will be ensured, mutually beneficial co-operation between China and other countries will be promoted and the post-epidemic recovery of the world economy will make progress.

Spring will eventually come, as it always does, and the light of hope is right in front of us. Let’s make an extra effort to pull through, as perseverance and solidarity mean victory.

As long as people in and outside China come together with a united purpose, we will be able to achieve the ultimate victory in the fight against the epidemic and realise strong recovery of the world economy and the sustainable development of human society.

Pretoria News