Adhering to ‘dynamic zero-COVID’ reflects China's sobriety: Global Times editorial
Published: May 12, 2022 02:01 AM
Young volunteers work at a nucleic acid testing site in Fengtai District of Beijing, capital of China, May 4, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

Young volunteers work at a nucleic acid testing site in Fengtai District of Beijing, capital of China, May 4, 2022. Photo: Xinhua

Currently, there are conflicting international opinions on the situation of the novel coronavirus and the prevention and control measures. On the one hand, WHO and health experts from many countries have repeatedly warned that the global anti-epidemic situation is not optimistic and rashly discarding strict anti-epidemic measures may result in a resurgence of the epidemic peak. On the other hand, some voices have pointed their fingers at China's dynamic zero-COVID strategy, saying that it is "not sustainable" and advocating that China should shift in policy as soon as possible.

We believe that when cases of COVID-19 are still running high and many countries are suffering from anti-epidemic fatigue, it is not surprising to hear various voices. The key is to proceed according to the actual situation of each country, take responsible attitudes and actions, and avoid adding new chaos to the global fight against the epidemic. For China, the evaluation of outsiders can be "wilful" but our own choice cannot be swayed.

As is known to all, since the outbreak of the pandemic, many US and Western politicians and public opinion organizations have been trying to shape this scientific issue into a struggle between the East and the West and they must make China the "losing side." With this basic position, they initially claimed that China's anti-epidemic policy fell into chaos. After their own countries experienced a heavy human cost, they repeatedly passed the buck. Today, while their own countries are "lying flat," or even giving up monitoring the pandemic, they unfoundedly slander China. Their genuine intention is obvious.

According to estimates from the WHO, the full death toll associated directly or indirectly with the COVID-19 pandemic, described as "excess mortality," between January 1, 2020 ,and December 31, 2021, was approximately 14.9 million, almost triple the official deaths reported from all countries across the world. Who is responsible for these unfortunate lives? China is a country with a big population. The country has a large aging population, unbalanced regional development, and insufficient medical resources. If China did not carry out the dynamic zero-COVID strategy, the death toll would have been even more shocking. The latest research by scientists from China and the US also shows that, if China rashly dropped the dynamic zero-COVID strategy, over 1.5 million people would have died from the virus.

Just from the perspective of saving lives, the significance of the dynamic zero-COVID strategy is inestimable. Except for vulnerable and seriously ill populations such as the elderly, the long-term impact of COVID-19 on children still remains unknown. More than 13 million children in the US have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 200,000 children have unfortunately become "COVID Orphans." US has a population of over 300 million while China's population is over 1.4 billion. China's dynamic zero-COVID strategy focuses on the present and cares about the future.

It is also important to see that the novel coronavirus is the culprit dragging down the economy. Data show that the US GDP fell by about 1.4 percent in Q1 of this year, and the GDP growth of 19 member states of the Eurozone dropped by 0.1 percent compared to the previous quarter. Economic growth is affected by multiple factors but "lying flat" and "coexistence" did not bring the expected positive results. In February, the UK announced the implementation of the "Living with COVID-19" plan. Since then, its healthcare system has been under unprecedented pressure. Due to recurrent COVID-19 outbreaks, schools and businesses in the country also face difficulty with normal operations and "one out of 10 British people are sick." With the changing pandemic and conflicting interests, the US and other Western countries are stuck in a cycle of "lockdown - fewer COVID-19 cases - relaxation of epidemic control measures - a rebound of COVID-19 - another lockdown." This is a direct burden on the development of these countries and the global economic recovery.

In contrast, by adhering to a scientific and precise "dynamic zero-COVID" policy, China has efficiently coordinated epidemic prevention and control with economic and social development. The country became the only major economy in the world to see positive economic growth in 2020. Its GDP exceeded 110 trillion yuan (around $16.95 trillion) in 2021, registering an increase of 8.1 percent over the previous year. China has made an important contribution to maintaining the stability and security of global industrial and supply chains. 

It is also worth mentioning that China's general policy of "dynamic zero-COVID" is not to pursue zero COVID-19 infections but rather to "strive to achieve the maximum prevention and control effect at the smallest cost and minimize the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development." Some people in the US and the West have set the "dynamic zero-COVID" policy against economic development. This action is out of ideological bias rather than based on scientific and rational analysis.

However, it is an inescapable fact that the pandemic is far from being over and the Omicron variant continues to mutate. According to media reports, an Omicron sub-variant that is 30 percent more transmissible than the ordinary variant has been reported in South Korea and so far all of the six cases have been people arriving from the US. It is time to make more efforts instead of "lying flat" and relaxing. Under such circumstances, China's adherence to the "dynamic zero-COVID" policy is the most responsible way to prevent and control the global pandemic. Those who are incompetent in fighting the epidemic and ask others to "lie flat" are incapable both scientifically and morally. Those who ignore people's lives at home and blame other countries should be questioned and condemned.

Since 2020, China's epidemic prevention and control have been constantly improving, from the emergency containment of sudden COVID-19 outbreaks to the exploration of normalized epidemic prevention and control, from the whole chain of prevention and control "dynamic zero-COVID" to the comprehensive prevention and control of a "scientific and precise dynamic zero-COVID" strategy. We believe that, by always prioritizing the people and their lives and proceeding from actual conditions entirely, China's epidemic prevention and control policies will stand the test of history and China will definitely make greater contributions to the global joint efforts against the epidemic.