søndag 19. februar 2023

China calls its Covid response a ‘miracle in human history.’ The data isn’t so clear

China has declared a “major and decisive victory” in its handling of the coronavirus outbreak that swept the country in recent months following an abrupt relaxation of its “zero-Covid” policy late last year. The ruling Communist Party’s top decision-making body made the assessment during a closed-door meeting on Thursday presided over by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, in the latest signal the country is seeking to minimize the political fallout from zero-Covid.

The years-long policy had generated widespread discontent – including rare nationwide protests – before it was scrapped in December amid rising economic costs, in a decision that caught the public off-guard. The swift rollback of stringent disease controls sparked a surge in cases that saw hospitals overwhelmed and people scrambling for basic medicines. But the outbreak appears to have subsided in intensity in recent weeks, with official figures showing visits to fever clinics returning to levels below those of the period before restrictions were lifted after dropping from a peak in late December.

In its Thursday meeting, the Politburo Standing Committee said the highly populous nation had “created a miracle in human history” as it had “successfully pulled through a pandemic,” according to a summary published by state-run news agency Xinhua.