By Chu Maoming, China’s Consul General in Lagos
Some Nigerian friends have recently expressed concerns about China’s COVID situation and showed their support to China’s efforts to fight the disease. I truly appreciate the precious and valuable support at the difficult time. It will help me and my fellow Chinese strengthen confidence in defeating the disease. I would like to assure my Nigerian friends that China will be able to win the battle.
As the highly contagious and latent Omicron variant is sweeping the world, multiple Chinese regions have been overshadowed by the current COVID-19 resurgence. But China has been rising to the challenge.
Through a resolute and full implementation of the dynamic zero-COVID approach, and with the whole-hearted support of the Chinese people, Shenzhen in southern China resumed normal work and production in late March as the resurgence subsides, while community transmission has been cut in Jilin Province since mid-April. Racing against time, Beijing has carried out multiple rounds of nucleic acid testing, and has grasped the basic picture of hidden transmission in society.
Data shows the epidemic situation is steadily improving and under effective control in Shanghai. Daily new COVID-19 cases have fallen from a peak of 27,000 to 3,000 at the time of writing , and nearly two-thirds of the infections have recovered in the city. Over 70 percent of Shanghai’s 1,800-plus major enterprises have resumed work and production, and the resumption rate of the first batch of more than 660 key industrial enterprises in the city has exceeded 90 percent.
China’s anti-epidemic experience has demonstrated that its dynamic zero-COVID policy is not only the best option but also the bottom line that must be maintained for the country’s current epidemic prevention and control work.
Yet, the country’s effective anti-pandemic efforts such as temporary lockdowns, brief closures of factories and stores, and suspension of offline classes in schools, have been repeatedly questioned by a number of Western media outlets as being excessively strict. While it is undeniably true that halting normal production can be costly, it is also true that the virus kills.
Worldwide, the virus has claimed over 6 million lives. In sharp contrast, the death toll was about 5,000 on the Chinese mainland.
By pursuing the dynamic zero-COVID approach, China has managed to safeguard people’s lives and well-being and has minimized the epidemic’s impact on economic and social development to the largest extent.
The stringent anti-epidemic measures inevitably lead to short-term economic pains, but dynamic zero-COVID is overall a counter-epidemic policy that ensures economic development.
In the first quarter of 2022, China’s GDP increased by 4.8 percent year on year. Against the backdrop of global inflation, domestic prices remain steady. The value of goods trade in the period rose 10.7 percent. China’s major industrial firms saw their profits up 8.5 percent year on year.
As a result, it is not difficult to conclude that China’s dynamic zero-COVID policy complements and bolsters the normal operation of the economy and society. The policy has woven a strong safety net for the 1.4 billion Chinese people.
Humanity is a community with a shared future. Solidarity and cooperation remain the most powerful weapons against global and regional public health challenges. Be it joining hands with the rest of the world to combat malaria, or joining international cooperation in the fight against SARS, bird flu, Ebola and COVID-19, China has always been giving a helping hand to other countries to tide over difficulties.
Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, China has carried out its largest emergency humanitarian action since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. It has provided hundreds of billions of anti-pandemic supplies to 153 countries and 15 international organizations and supplied 2.1 billion doses of vaccine to more than 120 countries and international organizations. It is making COVID-19 vaccines an accessible and affordable public product for developing countries.
From eliminating major infectious diseases such as malaria, to promoting international cooperation on the fight against COVID-19, China has always put people and their lives in the first place, which is responsible for not only the health and lives of the Chinese, but also the global public health cause. With concrete actions, China is practicing the vision of building a global community of health for all and building a powerful joint force for the world to fight COVID-19.