'Dynamic zero-COVID' policy prioritizes health and safety

'Dynamic zero-COVID' policy prioritizes health and safety

There have always been conflicting ideas when it comes to prevention and control measures against COVID-19. Some have pointed their fingers at China's dynamic zero-COVID strategy, saying it is "not sustainable".

Such allegations do not represent a full or accurate evaluation of China's fight against COVID-19.

China is the most populated country in the world with dense urban areas. A developing country, it faces imbalanced socioeconomic development and public health infrastructure. This national reality requires stringent measures to prevent the virus from spreading across the country.

Western countries'"co-exist" with the virus approach is untenable in China for now because senior citizens and children have still not reached a 91 percent vaccination rate. If the number of cases increases, they would be the most vulnerable. Therefore the dynamic zero-COVID policy is aimed at protecting the most vulnerable and achieving social resilience. As a country with 1.4 billion people, China could not afford to let the virus spread unabated since that would lead to a large number of deaths among its elderly.

A recent model from Chinese and United States scientists shows the Omicron variant would place a severe strain on China's healthcare system and cause around 1.55 million deaths if left to spread unabated, according to a preview study published by Nature Medicine on Tuesday.

The objective of China's "dynamic zero-COVID" policy is to maximize the protection of people's safety and health. Instead of pursuing zero infection, the policy aims to contain the pandemic in the shortest possible time at the lowest social cost so as to safeguard people's lives and health as well as retain a normal order of life.

China's zero-COVID strategy is not rigid. It changes with the situation, and is the most suitable strategy for China to curb viral infections.

Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization emergencies director, has said "We need to balance the control measures against the impact on society, the impact they have on the economy and that's not always an easy calibration."

Ryan also noted China has registered a relatively low death toll, compared with 1 million in the US and more than 500,000 in India. With that in mind, it is understandable, Ryan said, one of the world's most populous countries would want to take tough measures to curb the contagion.

Compared with the US, where the death toll has topped 1 million and 75 percent of people who have died of the virus 65 or older, China's zero-COVID strategy protects lives. In the long run, it will prove the Western countries' rushed re-opening is not the only way out of this pandemic.


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