February 7, 2023

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Live News Updates: China’s official media emphasize zero-Covid policy amid protests

China’s main state and party media on Monday reiterated the country’s commitment to its strict zero-Covid policy after a weekend that saw rare protests erupt in cities across the country.

The People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, ran a front-page editorial under the authorship of Zhong Yin, a pseudonym believed to indicate the party’s line on Covid policy. The article called for “improving the effectiveness of anti-epidemic work” and welcomed the recently announced “20 measures” aimed at partial relaxation of the zero-Covid policy.

It added that eradicating outbreaks early is critical to the approach’s success, underscoring an important tenet of the zero-Covid approach.

“Timely detection and control of infected people in society, accurate identification and control of close contacts, and timely and accurate delineation and announcement of risk areas are key to seizing the opportunity for epidemic prevention and control,” People’s Daily wrote.

Earlier this month, the government eased quarantine requirements for close contacts and international travelers, in the first minor relaxation of Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid strategy since reaffirming the policy at the Communist Party congress in October.

But spiraling case numbers, which have continued to climb after hitting record highs last week, have sparked a wave of lockdowns and restrictions across the country.

Xinhua, the government’s official news agency, published an editorial Monday urging the country to “steadfastly” uphold the principle of “putting people’s lives first” and ban “imports.” [the virus] from overseas” and preventing it from “recovering domestically,” two phrases associated with Beijing’s zero-Covid strategy.