C China's Zhengzhou apologizes, vows to rectify its 'one-size-fits-all' anti-epidemic approach
Published: Nov 06, 2022 01:25 PM Updated: Nov 06, 2022 11:20 PM
Anti-epidemic staff check travelers' health code at the entrance of Zhengzhou East railway station on May 4th, 2022. Photo: VCG

Anti-epidemic staff check travelers' health code at the entrance of Zhengzhou East railway station on May 4, 2022. Photo: VCG

Government officials of Zhengzhou, home to more than 13 million people in Central China's Henan Province, apologized to the public for the inaccurate quarantine in COVID-19 control, vowing to resolutely rectify the city's "one-size-fits-all" and oversimplified method and carefully listen to the public's voice to solve their urgent problems and needs.

The apology and pledge came after the State Council's Saturday criticism that Zhengzhou has taken a one-size-fits-all and cookie-cutter approach against COVID-19, such as sealing off a residential compound despite no infection detected within it.

"We are extremely sorry for the inaccurate quarantine in COVID-19 control, the sluggish transfer, the insufficient resource reserves and the unbalanced material supply which have brought severe consequences to people's work and life, said Li Huifang, deputy secretary general of Zhengzhou government, at a press conference on Sunday evening.

Li promised to extensively listen to public opinion and stop one-size-fits-all anti-epidemic measures, saying that for those individual residential compounds that still forbid residents from going in and out despite having no cases reported, the Zhengzhou government has established 20 inspection groups to stop such restriction and punish the relevant people in charge.

To solve the sluggish and slow transferring of positive cases and get prepared for the potential large-scale outbreaks in the upcoming winter, Li said Zhengzhou will reserve enough quarantine rooms through conversion of public rental housing, as well as expropriation of talent apartments and hotel rooms.

As Zhengzhou has reported more than 450 COVID-19 cases from Thursday to Saturday, the city is suffering its most widespread and long-lasting outbreak with the largest number of people affected since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic, according to the press conference.

In a meeting on Saturday presided by An Wei, the Zhengzhou city Party chief, he stressed a more scientific and precise approach in curbing COVID-19 spread and timely respond to public concerns so as to achieve dynamic-zero control and restore economic and social vitality of the city.

The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council on Saturday names Zhengzhou as one of the cities to have simply imposed 'one-size-fits-all' static management and lockdowns when it should have taken control measures on a scientific and precise basis, which is in contrary to the country's dynamic zero-COVID strategy.

Lots of local people have also complained about Zhengzhou's move to restrict travels of people from low-risk regions, according to the mechanism.

Newest data released by Henan provincial health commission on Sunday showed Zhengzhou registered 15 confirmed and 168 asymptomatic cases on Saturday.

The flare-up in Zhengzhou has gradually put under control, An said, underlining the city's decision to take unified policy and strict standards to clear the coronavirus in more local communities.

He also said Zhengzhou will precisely label risk zones and restricted zones, not only to prevent epidemic spread and reemergence but also avoid over-simplified COVID-19 approach.

Henan provincial governor Wang Kai also stressed scientific and precise measures to address COVID-19 risks in his visit to Zhengzhou on Saturday.