President Xi announces China’s commitment to’sticking with’ zero-Covid strategies Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, stated on Thursday that the country would “stick with” its zero Covid strategy. This comes as China, the most populous country in the world, is fighting its worst pandemic since the beginning of the pandemic. The country that was infected by the virus in late 2018 has maintained control of subsequent outbreaks through strict border controls, long quarantines, and targeted lockdowns. Since then, there have been no coronavirus-related deaths. However, the highly transmissible Omicron variant poses a serious challenge to this strategy. Authorities have closed cities like Shenzhen in southern China, which is home to 17.5 millions people. The world’s second largest economy is now reporting more than 1000 daily infections per day, compared to just 100 a few weeks ago. According to the National Health Commission (NHC), more than 2,400 cases of diarrhea were reported Thursday. Xi stated that China should continue to place people and their lives first, adhere to scientific accuracy, dynamic-zero and stop the spread of the disease as soon as possible, according to CCTV state broadcaster. Xi said that Beijing should “raise scientifically accurate prevention, control, and continually optimise disease control measures”. CCTV stated that he called for “strengthening technological key areas such as vaccination, rapid testing, and drug research” in order to make virus prevention more “targeted”. Xi also urged stricter virus control at entry points and stressed the importance of “swiftly controlling local clustered epidemics”. Tens of thousands of people in China are currently receiving stay-at home orders to combat the latest outbreak. Beijing’s communist leadership made handling the pandemic a matter for political capital. They claimed that the low death rates are a sign of their governance model. Chinese officials are working to contain outbreaks in cities across China. They also want to free up beds at hospitals to alleviate the risk of the virus putting the health system at risk. Northeast China’s Jilin region has been reporting thousands of cases over the last week. To stem the rise in infections, eight “makeshift” hospitals and two quarantine centres have been built. State news stations broadcast footage this week of massive cranes assembling temporary medical facilities for Jilin’s 24 million residents. The authorities also stated that mild cases can be isolated at central quarantine facilities. They previously sent all patients with symptoms to specialist hospitals. Recent flare-ups caused long lines to form outside mass testing sites. Port controls have been tightened, raising concerns about trade disruption. According to state media, authorities closed schools in Shanghai, China’s most populous city with 25 million inhabitants. They also locked down some residential properties and began a thorough round of mass testing.