On Misperceptions about China’s COVID Situation and Response 關於對中國 COVID 形勢和應對的誤解
Misperception 1 : China’s hasty relaxation of COVID policy has made the pandemic get out of control.
Answer: As the novel coronavirus continues to mutate and weaken, and the rate of critical illness and mortality caused by the Omicron strain has significantly decreased, China has better conditions and foundation to adjust its epidemic prevention and control measures. We have shifted the focus of our response from stemming infection to preventing severe cases and caring for health. This shift is science-based, timely and necessary. The aim is to protect the lives and health of the people and reduce the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development to the maximum extent possible.
The current situation shows that although the number of infection is large, the majority are asymptomatic or mild cases, while the numbers of severe cases and mortality rate are extremely small. At present, the peak has been over in Beijing and some other places. Production and people’s life are gradually returning to normal. To address the difficulty of buying medicines, we have taken multiple measures to increase production capacity. Now the production capacity of traditional Chinese medicines has basically met market demand, and the supply of Western medicines to treat fever and cold has significantly improved. The Chinese government has also approved the import of COVID-19 medicines made by international manufacturers including Pfizer. Generally speaking, the pandemic is under control in China.
Misperception 2 : The surge of infections in China reflects poor efficacy of Chinese vaccines.
Answer: At present, no vaccine in the world can completely prevent COVID infection. Those who question the efficacy of Chinese vaccines have ulterior motives. We have administered over 3.46 billion doses of vaccines for our people, which have protected the people through the most dangerous time. This has fully proved the safety and efficacy of Chinese vaccines. China has vaccinated 92 percent of the population, and over 90 percent have been fully vaccinated. China has more than 10 types of COVID-19 vaccines, covering a variety of technologies and routes of administration, with an annual vaccine production capacity of more than 7 billion doses. We are also continuing to upgrade vaccines to make them more effective. At the same time, China has provided 2 billion doses of vaccines and other supplies to the world.
Misperception 3: China’s information update is not transparent, and the death toll may be significantly underestimated.
Answer: It is groundless to accuse China of lack of transparency about the pandemic. At present, there are two criteria in the world that can be used to decide if a case is a COVID death. 1. With positive nucleic acid test result, one’s death is directly caused by respiratory failure caused by COVID-19; 2. All deaths within 28 days after COVID-19 infection. China has used the first criterion since 2020. China has always released information about death and severe cases according to the principles of staying true to facts, and keeping openness and transparency, and will continue to uphold these principles in the future.
It is worth noting that after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan three years ago, China promptly notified the WHO and relevant countries, shared with them the genome sequencing of the virus and carried out international cooperation in disease prevention and control. But the US, even at the height of the pandemic, did not adequately share data and information with other countries.
Misperception 4: Some countries are concerned about the spread of the virus and have imposed new quarantine requirements on Chinese passengers. Such actions are reasonable, and China has no right to criticize them.
Answer: Some countries have imposed restrictions or additional quarantine measures on people arriving from China. This is inconsistent with the features of the virus and international practices. It is not helpful for building solidarity or ensuring a coordinated and science-based response to the pandemic, and cannot ensure the orderly personnel exchanges among countries and the stability of global industrial and supply chains. China believes that COVID measures should be science-based and proportionate and should not affect normal people-to-people exchanges and cooperation.