It is naïve to question dynamic zero-case policy while we should indeed pay more attention to details
Published: Nov 14, 2021 01:38 PM
An enti-epidemic employee disinfects a hotel in Dexing, East China's Jiangxi Province on November 3. Photo: VCG

An enti-epidemic employee disinfects a hotel in Dexing, East China's Jiangxi Province on November 3. Photo: VCG

I have read the notice about the quarantine of pet dogs in Shangrao, East China's Jiangxi Province. Killing a pet dog with no evidence of being infected by COVID-19 and displaying the video clip of the process clearly lack of the basis of rules. The official notice released after the case said that local authorities had "criticized and educated" those personnel involved and ordered them to "sincerely apologize" to the dog's owner. The local authorities said they have realized the misconducts. But the above-mentioned notice did not express apologies in the name of the local authorities. And it described the killing of the dog as "a treatment to make it harmless," which many people found difficult to accept. In my opinion, even from the perspective of crisis communication, this was certainly not a successful notice. It is not surprising to see it trigger controversies online.

However, to netizens, I would like to say that we should consider this matter as it stands. We should not expand the criticism to local epidemic prevention efforts as a whole, let alone regard this as the microcosm of the dynamic zero-case route across China. The incident happened in Xinzhou district, Shangrao where has been identified as a medium-risk area after a new case of COVID-19 was confirmed there. The community is undergoing the tensest community lockdown, concentrated quarantine and all-round sterilization work. Many personnel engaging in these works must be temporarily mobilized. But their tasks are quite arduous, and many of them may not have sufficient experiences in handling all kinds of issues. The fight against the virus is urgent and the front-line prevention and control resources may not be sufficient either. When criticizing their specific performance, we should necessarily understand the overall difficulty of their work and the tense environment in which they may be prone to make mistakes.

I can fully empathize with the strong emotions some people feel when they see the pet dog clubbed, especially more and more people are now pet owners themselves. In this context, it is rational to see many criticize such practices in comments. What' more, the local authorities in Xinzhou have also admitted the misbehavior. As a matter of fact, when I saw this video, I was uncomfortable. But I hope people can view the case beyond the video like me. This specific video shows only one of countless scenes of the intense fight against the virus in Xinzhou. We should be able to review at the same time the bigger picture of the local COVID-19 battle, and understand that a bitter fight is going on there. 

It is believed that many people are aware: Wherever the virus is discovered, local front-line workers will face a condition which pushes their physical and mental limits. Mistakes may happen. But it is their imperfect and stumbling hard work that has realized the dynamic zero-case outcome from one place to another. The dynamic zero-case policy itself is not perfect. It will come with various costs. But its overall effect has been proven to be the best in the world. It is a great achievement that only China has truly realized. Europe is becoming the epicenter of the pandemic again. It is reported that almost 2 million cases of COVID-19 were registered in Europe last week. At this moment, it is only a naïve impulse to question the dynamic zero-case policy. 

Yet in any case, people showed their strong dissatisfaction with a pet dog getting killed by epidemic prevention personnel. People hope that no matter how legitimate the disease prevention work is, they will be able to show their warm attitude and goodwill as much as possible. Such a desire is worthy of attention from relevant virus prevention authorities and public forces. Our society should maintain such a value pursuit, and the pursuit itself shows the positive energy. At the same time, when local grass-roots authorities do not meet the expectations of public opinion, their crude behaviors will be recorded. Our criticism should be targeted at specific cases, and avoid going to extremes. We cannot deny the overall hard work of the grassroots pandemic prevention workers because of a specific case. We must not forget the most basic fact is that China's fight against the epidemic has saved countless lives. This is the most important fact that the majority of people care about.

The author is editor-in-chief of the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn