China has embraced its first Chinese New Year with downgraded COVID-19 measures in recent months and the nation has already seen a positive impact in helping people get back to normal life.
About 110 million passenger rail trips were made between Jan. 7 and Jan. 21, the first 15 days of the 40-day Chinese New Year travel rush, up 27.3 percent year on year, according to China. Railway. A total of 26.23 million trips were made on Chinese New Year’s Eve via railways, highways, ships and planes, half of pre-pandemic levels but up 50.8% from compared to last year.
Search and bookings for overseas travel have increased since the country reinstated travel agencies and online travel companies for overseas group travel and “airfare + hotel” activities. ” for Chinese citizens from February.
Data from Alibaba Feizhu’s Travel Portal on Jan. 20 showed that outbound travel bookings to 33 countries and regions doubled year-on-year. Travel orders to Thailand, Maldives and New Zealand topped the 10x increase. Last week’s international airfares increased three times from a year ago.
Such a travel rush seemed to pose a potential growth in COVID-19 infection, however, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the possibility of a COVID-19’s big rebound over the next two or three months is remote as 80% of people have been infected.
“Currently, the country has passed the peak of the COVID-19 infection wave,” he said on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform.
The Battle of COVID-19
It has not been easy for China to fight COVID-19 over the past three years due to the fluid virus situation. The country has always put people’s lives and health at the top of the agenda in policy making.
When the virus was detected in Wuhan, the government decided to shut down traffic in and out of the city, interrupting regular work and the lives of tens of millions of people. It was an aggressive but rather bold step that was cited as a “difficult but right thing to do” by doctors and experts, as reported in a Bloomberg article.
Over the next three months, China sent more than 40,000 medical workers to the hard-hit regions of Hubei and Wuhan, who worked to help resolve the first wave of infections.
It also took swift steps in researching and developing vaccines against the virus right after the country managed to isolate the first new strain of coronavirus amid the outbreak in early 2020.
A scientific and precise approach
Once the outbreak was contained, China adapted its COVID-19 response in light of the evolving situation with an aggressive zero COVID-19 approach, which bought time for vaccine development. and virus inoculation.
The essence of the policy was to stop the spread of new infections as soon as possible, instead of letting the situation drop and let it spiral out of control. The approach has allowed the country to develop its vaccines and roll out vaccination to protect as many people as possible, keeping severe cases and deaths low.
Three years into the pandemic, China has approved 13 COVID-19 vaccines using five different technologies and has fully vaccinated over 90% of its population.
The government updated ten versions of the guidelines as the dominant variants moved from Alpha to Delta, and now the less virulent Omicron. Each guideline is one step closer to a more scientific and precise way of approaching the situation.
Degraded COVID-19 measures
China’s latest COVID-19 response to lower its COVID-19 measures from January is to shift the focus from infection control to prevention and treatment of severe cases. The measures include reopening border ports for cargo transportation as well as incoming and outgoing visitors, resuming visa services, lifting quarantine and on-site COVID-19 testing for incoming visitors, etc.
“It does not mean that we have stopped all preventive measures against the virus,” said Liang Wannian, head of the expert group on COVID-19 response under China’s National Health Commission (NHC), “It means that we are strengthening our health services and epidemic response capacity”.
The new policy pays much more attention to vulnerable groups such as the elderly and suburban dwellers who may lack medical necessities, encouraging continued immunization and boosting the production of medical supplies.
China has increased its medical support to rural areas in recent weeks. The country has sent over one million finger oximeters to more than 600,000 village clinics.
The amount of essential medical equipment, including ventilators, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, better known as ECMO, is generally sufficient for the country to treat severe cases, said Jiao Yahui, head of the Department of NHC Medical Affairs.
The country has manufactured a total of 5.14 billion tablets of key painkillers, including ibuprofen and acetaminophen, since Jan. 1, which is enough to meet demand, said Tian Yulong, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
With a three-year effort, the country has effectively dealt with more than 100 cluster outbreaks and managed to avert the widespread prevalence of the high pathogenicity original strain and the variant Delta strain, according to Mi Feng, spokesperson of the NHC.
. How China adjusted the policies COVID19 three years for protect the people