More negative impact without zero-COVID policy
Published: Jan 23, 2022 07:30 PM
Medical workers give residents in Shanghai nucleic acid tests. Photo:Yang Hui/GT

Medical workers give residents in Shanghai nucleic acid tests. Photo:Yang Hui/GT

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Friday that China's "zero-COVID policy" is looking increasingly like a "burden" to the economy, putting "more at risk," referring not just to China as a nation, but China as a supply source for the rest of the world as well.

For a long time, Western public opinion has generally been opposing China's dynamic zero-COVID policy. Now the IMF has also made public such inappropriate opposition. Since Western countries have done a poor job in their COVID-19 fight, they want to drag China down as well. However, China will always be firm in protecting people's lives at any cost and judging from the actual situation worldwide, China has paid the smallest price.

Many in the West believe that China will implement many large-scale COVID-19 lockdowns this year, bringing widespread impact on production and disruption to the global supply chain. This is nothing but a groundless assumption. Protecting lives will always be the priority, and it is acceptable that the economy is sacrificed more or less when necessary. After all, the economy can bounce back, but can life?

Some Western countries have such thoughts deep in their minds: Why have so many people died of COVID-19 in the West, but not in China? And why doesn't the West have the ability to prevent and control the epidemic, but China does? In fact, China has its joint prevention and control mechanism and will never give it up. At present, Western countries lack the ability to implement a similar mechanism. The orderly supply of living materials, in particular, is beyond Western countries' imagination. 

China's epidemic prevention and control measures are diversified. Lockdowns can be limited to communities, or cities when necessary. It all depends on the actual situation. The West simply believes it is impossible for China to accomplish what Western countries cannot do, and thus it demonizes China's prevention and control measures. For instance, Georgieva claimed, "What Omicron is teaching all of us is that a highly transmissible variant of COVID may be much more difficult to contain without a dramatic impact on the economy," However, China achieved a growth rate of 8.1 percent for its GDP in 2021, and the zero-COVID policy played a central role. Under the protection of this policy, China resumed production in an orderly manner, which not only contained the pandemic but also provided room for economic recovery. Influenced greatly by Western opinion, the IMF cannot have an objective understanding of China's zero-Covid policy.

China will not give up this policy. China has a dense population of 1.4 billion. Loosening control of the pandemic may have severe consequences. We have seen a death toll of nearly 900,000 people in the US. If China gives up the zero-COVID policy, its death toll may be 10 times higher. Scientists are still working on Omicron, and China cannot bet its future on uncertainty and ignorance. Now Westerners bet their fate on uncertainties as if the lessons they should have learned are not enough.

If China gives up the dynamic zero-COVID policy and lets the epidemic rage on, Chinese people will never accept it. One infected person may infect a family, and when these family members go out, the number of confirmed cases will explode exponentially. This being the case, some Western media reports criticizing China's "harsh" measures seem ridiculous. China is not being harsh - we just do not accept hundreds of thousands of deaths.

Therefore, Georgieva's words do not hold water at all. China's dynamic zero-COVID policy guarantees the smooth operation of the economy. If China really gives it up, resulting in a sharp increase of COVID-19 deaths and an overwhelmed situation like the West, the negative impact on China and the world's economy will be immeasurable.

The author is a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn