The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee convened a meeting on March 17 to analyze the new development of COVID-19 and arrange for better and more stringent epidemic control. General Secretary Xi Jinping presided over the meeting and delivered an important speech.
Xi pointed out that China has maintained the policy of “preventing imported cases and domestic resurgences” since routine prevention and control measures were adopted. Xi said that differentiated and targeted prevention and control approach has been improved in accordance with situations in different regions and the levels of sporadic resurgence, and as a result, clusters of infections in certain regions have been swiftly brought under control and people’s health and safety have been protected to the utmost. He said that China has done better than most countries in both economic development and COVID-19 containment, which has demonstrated the country’s solid strength and capacity in the prevention and control of the epidemic and the advantages of the leadership of the Communist Party of China and of China’s socialist system.
Victory comes from perseverance, Xi stressed. All local authorities and government departments must be fully aware of the complex, arduous and enduring nature of COVID-19 control both at home and abroad, further social mobilization, build consensus, proceed with greater confidence and perseverance, and carry out all the epidemic control work in a more solid and meticulous manner. He urged them to always put people and their lives first, adhere to the dynamic zero-COVID approach with science-based and targeted measures, and contain the spread of the virus as soon as possible. Efforts must be taken to make epidemic response more science-based and targeted, keep optimizing our response measures, and step up the research and development of vaccines, rapid testing reagents, and medicines, so that the epidemic control work will be more targeted. Xi also called for maintaining strategic focus, pursuing progress while ensuring stability, coordinating COVID-19 response with economic and social development, adopting more effective measures, striving to achieve the best results in epidemic control with minimum costs, and minimizing the epidemic’s impact on the economic and social development.
The Standing Committee pointed out at the meeting that the country has recently seen cluster infections spreading widely and occurring frequently in multiple regions. It required that the local governments, epidemic control authorities, all organizations and individuals must fully take on their responsibilities, comply with the principle of “early detection, early reporting, early quarantine and early treatment” and conduct prevention and control work strictly and earnestly. Guidance for epidemic prevention and control in key regions must also be strengthened to bring local outbreaks under control as soon as possible.
The Standing Committee stressed that we need to keep people’s normal work and life stable and orderly, guarantee the production and supply of daily necessities, and meet people’s needs for medical treatment. We need to accelerate reforms on the disease control and prevention system, expand monitoring coverage of key groups, and improve the mechanism for monitoring and issuing early warnings through multiple channels so as to comprehensively boost epidemic monitoring, early warning and emergency response capabilities. We will see that port-of-entry areas fulfill their responsibilities for COVID-19 control, increase the resources at their disposal, improve the mechanism for routine epidemic control, and shore up weak links. With all these efforts, we will reinforce the line of defense against imported cases.
We need to strengthen routine epidemic control in schools and other key places. We will see that these key places shoulder their primary responsibilities and keep epidemic containment measures and contingency plans effective and meticulous. We need to work to get our officials and people fully understand the importance of epidemic control and grasp the knowledge about COVID-19 response, so that they can take the initiative in following epidemic prevention rules, strengthen self-protection and work together with the Party and the government to deliver good outcomes in their work. We will increase publicity to raise vaccination awareness, step up booster vaccination efforts and further raise the overall vaccination rates. With all these efforts, we will reinforce the line of defense featuring society-wide prevention and control. We need to take coordinated efforts to better our information publishing and communication work so as to keep the public informed in a timely manner on the latest epidemic situation and progress in COVID-19 response, and actively respond to public concerns.
The Standing Committee requested that all localities and all departments align their thinking and action with the decisions and plans of the Party Central Committee, both Party committees and governments assume responsibility, all sectors work together, and everyone holds the ground and meets one’s responsibility, so as to bolster our epidemic prevention capability. While strengthening organization and leadership, we must not drop our guard, lose drive, take chances or slacken efforts, and we must seize every moment to carry out all epidemic control work in a solid and meticulous manner. Wherever the epidemic situation is serious, the principal leaders of the Party and the government as well as officials at all levels must give top priority to epidemic response and put in their utmost effort to secure the final victory. Party organizations at all levels and all their members and officials should fully play their role, go to the frontline of epidemic control, communicate with the general public, and take active measures to help resolve problems and difficulties for our people. Accountability inspections will be strengthened. Anyone who fails to perform their duties and responsibilities and thus leads to a drastic escalation will be investigated and held to account right away in accordance with discipline and regulations.
Other matters were also discussed at the meeting.