Beijing: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday did not give any definite road map to revise Beijing’s two-year rigid Zero-COVID case policy and opening up of international travel, as China witnessed a spurt in coronavirus cases amid the massive outbreak of the virus in Hong Kong.
China will continue to make its COVID-19 response more scientific and targeted based on the epidemic situation and new developments and features of the virus, Li said, in his annual press conference here at the end of the Parliament session on Friday.
“We will continue to gain experience and be adaptive to new developments, so as to keep up the flow of goods and personnel,” he said, when asked about how long China will hold on to Zero-COVID policy which has disrupted international travel in and out of the country.
The rigid policy has resulted in the complete disruption of studies of over 23,000 Indian students mostly studying medicine who are part of nearly half a million foreign students studying Chinese universities as they are stuck in their respective countries due to flight and visa cancellations by China citing its strict COVID-19 controls.
Expectations of China relaxing its policy by the end of March as it completed holding of the Winter Olympics and set to end the Winter Paralympics as well as completion of the annual Parliament session has not materialised so far.
In his media conference, Li gave no inkling of China opening up to foreign travellers.
Instead, he said it is necessary to deepen the research on the novel coronavirus and strengthen the development of vaccines and effective medicines and called on the international community to work together to create conditions for the world to return to normal.
Significantly, as the world around opened up following the decline of COVID-19 cases, in China where the virus had first emerged in Wuhan in December 2019, is experiencing a spurt in cases.
On Friday, China ordered a lockdown of the nine million residents of the Changchun city amid a new spike in COVID-19 cases in the area.
On Thursday China’s National Health Commission reported over 1,360 cases in different parts of the country.
Several offices of top Chinese business houses including Xiaomi and Bytedance in Beijing have ordered COVID tests for their employees within their offices during the last few days.
In the first two months of 2022, Shanghai, with a population of nearly 25 million, has logged 1,243 confirmed COVID-19 cases, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Several Chinese cities have banned the travel of people from Hong Kong as the former British colony experienced a massive outbreak of the virus during the last few weeks.
Premier Li has expressed deep concern for Hong Kong residents and offered Beijing’s full support.
The number of daily infections in Hong Kong grew exponentially, breaking the 50,000 threshold this month.
As of Thursday, the city’s official tally stood at 617,419 cases, meaning one out of every 12 residents was infected, while there were 3,150 COVID-19 related fatalities, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper reported on Friday.
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