In fighting Omicron, US and West should not stab China in the back

By Global Times editorial (Global Times) 09:14, January 10, 2022

A medical worker takes swab samples from a resident in Hangu Street of Binhai New Area, north China's Tianjin Municipality. File Photo: Xinhua

A medical worker takes swab samples from a resident in Hangu Street of Binhai New Area, north China's Tianjin Municipality. (File Photo: Xinhua)

North China's Tianjin reported 20 new local cases of COVID-19 infections on Sunday. The day before, the municipality reported 20 cases including two infections of the Omicron variant. The virus has reportedly spread by three generations in the city. This is so far the largest local outbreak triggered by the Omicron variant in China. In the meantime, the epidemic continues in Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Provinceand several places in Central China's Henan Province. As the Spring Festival holidays and the Beijing Olympic Winter Games approach, many places in China including Tianjin will have to face a new test.

Omicron has been spreading around the globe for a month. The US registered a record high number of daily new cases of more than 1 million, and European countries are continuing setting new records in the numbers of infections. Both have chosen to "lie flat" irresponsibly in the face of the raging pandemic. Although Omicron is highly infectious and spreads fast, it takes the virus more than one month to break a small crack in China's epidemic defenses. China, which adheres to prioritizing people and their lives, will not lie down, and its fight against Omicron is vital for the international community.

The pressure on Tianjin to fight Omicron is clearly big, as the whole country, even the entire world, is focusing on the city. How can the epidemic be brought under control at the lowest cost but in the shortest time? How can we guarantee people's living requirements while fighting the virus to avoid extreme situations where patients in critical conditions cannot receive timely treatment and where people starve due to community lockdowns? Tianjin faces complicated but urgent tasks. At such moments, prevention and control personnel must keep in mind that all the work is done for people's health and to protect each and every life. Meanwhile, these personnel are indeed warriors guarding people, and they should be understood, supported and cooperated with to the absolute utmost.

From Xi'an to Henan's Xuchang to Tianjin, the virus can form ambush everywhere anytime. The Spring Festival travel rush is about to start, with a great increase in number of people traveling around within a short period of time. This will be a test for all places across China in terms of epidemic prevention and control. Local governments must not be complacent, but rather insist on the strategy of preventing imports of infections from outside and a resurgence in the epidemic within the country, as well as the dynamic zero-case measures. The governments should be more people-centered and respond people's concerns in a timely manner. The epidemic is a fair and rigorous test of local emergency response capacity and governance. It must not be handled carelessly.

It is worth noting that in recent days, public opinion in the West has been questioning China's dynamic zero-case policy yet again, launching another round of verbal attacks. One of the most sensational statements came from the Eurasia Group, which claims that the top risk in 2022 would be "the failure of China's zero-COVID policy" due to the pressure it would bring to global supply-chain disruptions and high inflation. We can see an absurd scene: a group of deserters fleeing the battlefield, stabbing their comrades in the back who are still holding on in the fight.

The population of the US is equivalent to the total of South China's Guangdong, East China's Shandong, and Central China's Henan provinces, while the population of the UK is about the same as Central China's Hunan Province. These two countries have recently exceeded 1 million and 200,000 new infections in a single day, , overwhelming the medical system and seriously disrupting the functioning of society.

If China, as a developing country with a population of more than 1.4 billion, chooses to "coexist" with the epidemic and "lie flat," at least tens of millions of people will be infected and hundreds of thousands of people will die. Who can bear such consequences?

It has been proven that the dynamic zero-case policy is still the best choice for epidemic prevention and control in China today. As for the so-called economic consequences alleged by some people in the US-led West, China's box office exceeded 47 billion yuan (about $7.37 billion) in 2021, ranking No.1 in the world. Meanwhile, China's total imports and exports of goods were expected to reach $6 trillion in 2021, seeing an over 20 percent growth from one year earlier. Isn't the data directly related to the dynamic zero-case policy? Under such circumstances, they ignore China's significant contribution to the global fight against the pandemic and its role as the engine of world economic recovery. They try to force China to abandon this policy through vicious attacks. Isn't the evil intention obvious enough?

To achieve "zero cases" in a dynamic process means China's policy has never been rigid and unchanging but can be adjusted at any time as the epidemic situation changes. What remains unchanged is the respectful attitude toward people's lives and health. China is looking at the whole picture in its epidemic prevention and control efforts and it is trying to realize righteousness.

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


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