Xi Jinping: China is facing 'new situation' amid COVID surge

World Tuesday 27/December/2022 10:41 AM
By: DW
Xi Jinping: China is facing 'new situation' amid COVID surge

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged a "patriotic health campaign" in his first public remarks on the pandemic since the end of Beijing's zero-COVID policy and the subsequent surge in coronavirus casesearlier this month.

"At present, COVID-19 prevention and control in China are facing a new situation and new tasks," Xi said in a directive as reported by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

"We should launch the patriotic health campaign in a more targeted way… fortify a community line of defense for epidemic prevention and control, and effectively protect people's lives, safety and health," Xi said.

China to scrap quarantine requirement for foreigners

In further developments Monday, the country's National Health Commission announced it would drop a COVID-19 quarantine requirement for passengers arriving from abroad beginning January 8.

Currently, arriving passengers have to quarantine for five days at a hotel, followed by three days at home.

China's top health authority said some foreigners would be able to enter the country, without giving details.

China's National Health Commission on Sunday said it would stop publishing daily COVID-19 numbers, saying the task would be delegated to another department under it.

The health commission has recorded only six COVID-19 fatalities this month, bringing the country's official toll to 5,241.

The figures have been largely disputed since there are multiple reports by families of relatives dying in the country of over 1.4 billion people.

This selection of data excludes many deaths other countries would attribute to the contagious viral disease.

Experts at the World Health Organization this month called on China to release reliable figures beyond the limited data available to the world so far.

Beijing also only counts deaths from pneumonia or respiratory failure in its official COVID-19 toll. It also said Chinese citizens would be able to travel abroad for tourism once again too, without specifying a timeline.