Chinese President Xi Jinping admitted on Wednesday that he is concerned about the wave of COVID-19 cases expected to hit China’s vast interior during the Lunar New Year.
In the first public comment on the wave of infections registered in the country, after Beijing dismantled the ‘zero cases’ strategy of covid-19, the secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party admitted to being “more concerned about rural areas and peasants ”.
“Medical facilities are relatively vulnerable in rural areas, and this means that it is more difficult to prevent [the impact of the disease] and that the challenge is more arduous,” he described.
Xi’s remarks were made during the Lunar New Year message addressed to residents and Communist Party officials in Mianyang, a city in Sichuan province. Xi, who was speaking from the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, urged them to do everything possible to contain the spread of the virus.
The Chinese leader defended, however, that the country “made the right choice” by imposing strict epidemic prevention measures in the last three years. China has reduced the proportion of severe cases and the death rate to the “maximum possible”, buying “precious time” to optimize its response, he said.
Hundreds of millions of Chinese workers who migrated from the cities are returning to their homeland to celebrate the main festival for Chinese families, which takes place this year between the 21st and 28th of January.
This is the largest internal migration on the planet and coincides, this year, with the end of the ‘zero cases’ policy of covid-19, which for almost three years restricted the internal flow of people in the country.
Admitting that the current wave of infections sweeping the country is “fierce and severe”, Xi Jinping urged frontline health workers to step up self-protection measures.
“We must strengthen protection and care for our medical teams to ensure their health,” he said.
The end of restrictions, after protests in several cities in China, launched an unprecedented wave of infections in urban areas, which must now spread to the interior of the country, where health resources are considered insufficient.
Despite the unprecedented wave of cases and the public health crisis that has hit the country, Xi insisted that “the light at the end of the tunnel is just ahead” and that “persistence is victory”.
Also participating in the video call were Deputy Prime Minister Sun Chunlan and Chinese Communist Party Politburo member Liu Guozhong, who is expected to take over as China’s top official on COVID-19 policies after Sun officially retired in March. .
According to official data released last Sunday, China has recorded almost 60,000 deaths in hospitals linked to the covid-19 pandemic, since the lifting of preventive measures in early December.
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