Chinese top health authority slams wrong claims about ‘coexisting with COVID’ and ‘virus just like flu’
Published: Apr 18, 2022 02:25 PM
People line up for Covid-19 testing in a residential community in Shanghai, April 12, 2022. Photo: IC

People line up for Covid-19 testing in a residential community in Shanghai, April 12, 2022. Photo: IC

China's top health authority urged local officials across the country to curb the epidemic spread as soon as possible, resolutely oppose the wrong claims such as "coexisting with COVID" and "the virus becoming flu,'' and adhere to the country's dynamic zero-case policy to reach the anti-epidemic result at the minimum cost, according to an article published on Monday. 

Under the principle of "people first, life first," the Party and the central government always put the people's lives and health above everything, Ma Xiaowei, director of the National Health Commission, wrote in the article on the Party-linked newspaper the Study Times. China is a country with a large population that has unbalanced regional development and insufficient total amount of medical resources. In the face of the repeated resurgences of the epidemic, if we only focus on "treatment" and relax on "prevention," our medical resources will be heavily weighed, and a large number of people with underlying diseases, the elderly, children and pregnant women will be seriously threatened, Ma said. 

Scientific, precise and dynamic zero tolerance is a major decision made by the Communist Party of China (CPC) and President Xi Jinping based on science and laws, Ma said, urging officials to oppose claims about co-existing with the virus and treating the virus as flu. 

Recently, there have been some specious voices coming out, advocating that the Omicron is just a big flu. Those voices cited the examples of the UK and the US, claiming that some Western countries are successfully coexisting with COVID. 

To counter those wrong claims, Ma said the whole country should adopt universally the dynamic zero-case strategy, making improvements in the anti-epidemic measures and adopt the most decisive, resolute and complete measures to achieve the target by screening out possible infections and transmission routes as soon as possible and coordinate the quarantines and management of groups at risks to cut off the transmission in communities. 

The Chinese mainland reported 2,723 new domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases and 20,639 asymptomatic domestic cases on Sunday, according to the NHC. Shanghai, the largest metropolis in the country, has become the most severely hit by the virus since the early outbreak in Wuhan, recording more than 300,000 COVID infections since March.

The global epidemic is still serious and the virus is still mutating and the final direction of the epidemic is still uncertain, far from the time to relax and rest, Ma said, noting that any act of losing the guard or lowering requirements, in addition to bureaucracy, would become a new "burning point" of the flare-ups. 

That will cause the scale of the epidemic to expand, which means we have to pay tens of times or even hundreds of times the price, the Chinese official said.