In a further step to return to pre-COVID normality, China has announced that there will no longer be daily updates on COVID-19.
A statement issued on the National Health Commission website said that, as of December 25, 2022, there would be “no more daily updates,” and that in future, China’s Center for Disease Control would provide “relevant updates for the purpose of reference and research.”
The announcement by the National Health Commission. Screengrab via National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China
As China dismantles its strategy of ‘dynamic zero-COVID,’ the news probably isn’t a surprise to many of us.
What does it actually mean?
Perhaps the most noticeable change will be the absence of daily updates regarding COVID-19 numbers.
Zhao Wei, head of the Institute of Public Health and Bio-safety Research Center at Southern Medical University in Guangzhou told People’s Daily the following with regard to the change in policy:
“The main purpose of daily updates was to inform the general public about the areas of the country in which Sars-Cov-2 had spread and in which COVID-19 outbreaks had become serious. This allowed people to consider which places they should avoid, based on the current epidemic situation.
“However, now that the epidemic has spread almost everywhere, there’s no need for people to receive this information on a daily basis.
“The change in epidemic prevention and control strategy, as well as the widespread transmissibility of the Omicron variant, mean many people have now had direct experience of the virus. With this in mind, the virus is unlikely to cause panic among the general public, hence why daily updates are no longer necessary.”
Furthermore, Zhao added that without daily updates, more resources could be put into the treatment of COVID-19 patients, among other areas.
1,069 Days Later
Daily updates on COVID-19 have been a part of life in China since January 21, 2020. Numbers would be announced daily for each province, autonomous region and municipality, including new local symptomatic cases, recovered cases, imported cases, new local asymptomatic cases, etc.
Since China scrapped many policies fundamental to ‘dynamic zero-COVID’ – centralized quarantine, mandatory nucleic acid testing, etc. – official numbers of COVID-19 have declined, the most plausible explanation for which is that many people now self-test for COVID-19 at home, rather than partaking in nucleic acid testing.
Press conferences have been a regular feature of life in China since early 2020. Image via Weibo/@浙江日报
In addition to daily numbers, announcements of new rules at press conferences – both national and arranged by province, autonomous region and municipality – have also been a part of daily life, especially at times when an outbreak of COVID-19 has become so severe as to impose temporary measures (closure of hospitality venues, work from home, etc.)
At That’s, keeping readers up-to-date with the latest COVID-19-related information has certainly kept us on our toes. It looks like we might not be writing about this topic quite so much in the future.
[Cover image via Weibo/@新浪热点]
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