China warns cities against rushing to ease Covid-19 response


China’s State Council has urged local authorities to avoid “irresponsible loosening” of Covid-19 measures, after refinements to the strict zero-Covid policy released last week led to a rush in some areas to abandon mass testing and other requirements.

National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng issued the warning at a press briefing on Thursday.

According ti him, “[We must] continue to rectify the practice of excessive measures such as lockdowns and oppose the irresponsibility of evading a solution by loosening up”.

At the briefing, plans were unveiled to build stronger capacity to handle severe cases in designated Covid-19 hospitals, a sign that China is preparing for worse waves of infections ahead.

Meanwhile, deputy head of China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Shen Hongbing, also said that testing needs to be done “scientifically”.

“Local governments should … neither use excessive measures nor arbitrarily reduce control rules,” he said.

He, further advised local authorities who are facing an outbreak to assess whether the source of infection and transmission chains are clear and whether there is a risk of community transmission.

China is experiencing its strongest wave of Covid-19 in six months, with 23,132 cases reported on Thursday, almost double last Friday’s case count.


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