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People's Daily Online

Explainer: FAQs on China's dynamic zero-COVID policy

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:34, April 20, 2022

BEIJING, April 19 (Xinhua) -- What is the goal of China's dynamic zero-COVID policy? What are the country's considerations behind the policy? On Monday, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, broke down some of the most popular misperceptions about the policy in an article.

The following are some of the key messages from the article.

-- Does China aim to realize "infection-free" by adopting the policy?

It doesn't. The policy's goal is not to clear infections nationwide but to contain sporadic outbreaks as early as possible, said Wu. As per the policy, the successful containment of the virus doesn't mean having all infection "zeroed-out". Rather, the containment can be considered successful when all new infections from the outbreak are found within the quarantined areas.

-- Are citywide lockdowns inevitable in pursuing the policy?

They are not. There is no reason to practice citywide lockdowns as long as patients and close contacts are identified and quarantined in the early stages of outbreaks, said Wu in the article. However, should a sporadic outbreak be discovered late with many infections already existing, lockdowns are necessary to cut the spread of the virus and limit the impacts of the epidemic.

The same applies to mass nucleic acid tests. There's no need for mass tests as close contacts are easily identified as the virus can be traced in the early outbreak stage.

-- Does the adoption of the policy compromise the economy?

The policy's effect on the economy depends on the timing of its implementation and the epidemic situation. But overall, it is a counter-epidemic policy that ensures economic development, said Wu.

If measures included in the policy are adopted at the early stages of an epidemic, they will not harm the economy.

Measures such as mass quarantine and nucleic acid tests will indeed affect the economy, but in the long run, the dynamic zero-COVID policy is more practical since its adverse effects on local GDP are much smaller than the impacts of a passive epidemic control strategy.

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