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Global Times

China's vice premier urges local govts maintain zero-case policy, clear new cases asap

Global Times

By Global Times Published: Mar 12, 2022 10:59 PM

Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan on Saturday urged regions experiencing severe epidemic outbreaks to maintain the country's dynamic zero-case policy to clear COVID-19 cases among the general public in the shortest time possible.

Sun made the request during a national teleconference of the State Council for the joint prevention and control against COVID-19.

Sun said epidemic outbreaks in China are becoming more frequent, and the pressure for prevention and control is increasingly acute. She pointed out that epidemic prevention and control efforts need to target the characteristics of the Omicron variant, to promote the monitoring model of "antigen tests for screening, nucleic acid tests for diagnosis," with antigen kits for self-testing now available to the public, which are better for spotting confirmed cases as early as possible, to improve early warning mechanisms.

According to media reports, China will begin using COVID-19 antigen tests as a supplementary method to improve its early detection capability, the National Health Commission said in a notice on Friday.

Compared to nucleic acid testing - the dominant tool widely deployed across the country's mass testing campaigns, antigen tests return results more quickly but are generally less accurate.

Capital reports new cases

Beijing reported three new local COVID-19 cases from Friday to 4 pm Saturday, with officials urging Beijing residents to not leave the city unless necessary.

The Beijing municipal government held the 288th press conference on the COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control on Saturday. Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing center for disease control and prevention, said at the conference that the three cases consist of two confirmed cases and one asymptomatic carrier. The three cases are respectively from districts of Mentougou, Shunyi and Chaoyang.

Xu Hejian, spokesperson of the municipal government, said at the conference that as the epidemic situation overseas remains severe, China's domestic epidemic situation will remain complex with authorities in multiple regions uncovering new cases, adding that the capital is now facing the risk of imported cases from both overseas and other regions in China.

"With multiple districts of Beijing identifying new infections caused by imported cases, Beijing's epidemic prevention and control should remain strict and we ask citizens in Beijing not to leave the city unless necessary," Xu noted.

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