Latest optimisation of anti-epidemic measures in Mainland not a complete liberalisation, emphasis on scientific and precise approach

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7th December 2022 – (Beijing) The joint prevention and control mechanism of the State Council held a press conference on Wednesday (7th) to introduce measures to further optimise and implement the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic. Relevant measures put forward further work on the delineation and management of risk areas, nucleic acid testing, isolation methods, guaranteeing the needs of the masses to seek medical treatment and purchase medicines, vaccination of the elderly, health management of key populations, normal social operation, epidemic-related safety guarantees, and school epidemic prevention and control.

Liang Wannian, the leader of the National Health Commission’s Covid Response Expert Team pointed out at the meeting that this optimisation is not a complete liberalisation, but an active optimisation rather than a passive one.

Mi Feng, spokesman for the National Health Commission, said that the new 10 measures are to continuously improve the scientific and precise level of prevention and control. During the implementation, the government must resolutely correct the simplification of “one size fits all” measures, and not increase the number of layers of measures. For example, except for nursing homes, welfare homes, medical institutions, child care institutions, primary and secondary schools and other special places, nucleic acid infection test results, health codes and itinerary codes will no be inspected for cross-district travellers. No check-point inspections will be carried out and all districts must implement measures accurately in accordance with the requirements.

When asked about the background of the launch of the further optimisation measures, Li Bin, deputy director of the National Health Commission, said that the previously announced 20 optimisation measures were proposed based on a scientific evaluation of the implementation effects of the ninth edition of the prevention and control plan and the National Holiday Plan. After the implementation, the Mainland has closely tracked the implementation effects of various regions, combined with the experience accumulated in the recent epidemic response process and the outstanding problems faced by various regions, and proposed 10 targeted new optimisation measures. In a nutshell, the new measures can be roughly divided into two categories, one is focus on optimisation, and the other is emphasis on precision with the aim to overcome outstanding problems faced in the current prevention and control, especially the strong public feedback on the ninth edition, with more emphasis on scientific and precise approach.

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