China records 6-month high of infections despite COVID strategy |  News of the coronavirus epidemic

China records 6-month high of infections despite COVID strategy | News of the coronavirus epidemic

China records 6-month high of infections despite COVID strategy | News of the coronavirus epidemic

The world’s most populous country has vowed to stick to its tough zero-zero COVID policy despite growing public frustration over it and the damage it has done to the economy.

China reported its highest number of new COVID-19 infections in six months, a day after health officials said they remained Strict coronavirus restrictions.

China reported 4,420 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections on Saturday, the National Health Commission said, the most since May 6 and up from 3,659 new local cases a day earlier.

Although its case numbers are extremely low by global standards nearly three years into the pandemic, China has remained committed to a zero-covid approach that includes lockdowns, quarantines, frequent testing and a sharp reduction in inbound travel.

At a news conference on Saturday, health officials reiterated their commitment to a “dynamic cleanup” approach to COVID cases as soon as they appear.

China records 6-month high of infections despite COVID strategy |  News of the coronavirus epidemic
Analysts say they do not expect a significant easing of restrictions to begin until the annual session of China’s parliament in March. [File: Thomas Peter/Reuters]

China’s anti-COVID measures are “absolutely correct, and also the most economical and effective,” said Hu Xiang, the disease control official. “We must remain committed to the principle of putting people and life first and to a broader strategy of preventing imports and internal uprisings.”

The world’s most populous country has pledged to stay true to itself strict zero COVID policy despite growing public disillusionment with it and its toll on the economy.

President Xi Jinping has said little more than reiterating the validity of his policies that have made China a global outlier as much of the world tries to co-exist with the virus.

Chinese stocks rose last week With news of a possible easing of COVID restrictions and media reports that some policy changes may be coming soon.

However, many analysts say they do not expect significant easing to begin until China’s annual parliament session in March.

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said Saturday’s announcement showed that “the government will still have to maintain its zero-covid policy until all preparations are in place.”

This, in our view, could take several months,” they wrote, saying their “baseline” expectation was a reopening in the April-June quarter.

Participants are waiting for the Beijing Marathon
Competitors are looking forward to the Beijing Marathon, the first in two years [Tingshu Wang/Reuters]

Infections continued to rise in the southern city of Guangzhou, with 66 new locally transmitted symptomatic cases and 1,259 asymptomatic cases, compared with 111 symptomatic and 635 asymptomatic cases a day earlier, authorities in the city of about 19 million people said.

China’s capital, Beijing, reported 43 symptomatic and six asymptomatic cases, compared with 37 symptomatic and five asymptomatic cases the previous day.

Still, some 30,000 runners, some wearing face masks, took part in the first Beijing Marathon since 2019 on a chilly and foggy Sunday.

Runners passed Tiananmen Square as they finished the race through the streets and highways of the Chinese capital.

The mood was celebratory, with some participants wearing colorful wigs, flags or youths with loud voices from the sidelines.

It was the first major sporting event in the Chinese capital since the Winter Olympics in February.



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