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Beijing: China has cut short the mandatory quarantine period for recovered COVID-19 patients to save medical resources for severe cases, as the country battles a two-year high in fresh infections.

Reviewing China’s attempts to contain the fresh spread of the pandemic during a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the ruling Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping urged swift containment of the spread of the COVID-19.

Since the COVID-19 response measures were enforced on a regular basis, China has effectively responded to regional cluster infections and provided the best protection for people’s lives and health as it can, Xi was quoted as saying by the official media.

The country’s economic performance and COVID-19 response – both it led the world in – fully demonstrated its strength and capacity in epidemic prevention and control, he said, stressing on the advantages of the Chinese Communist Party’s leadership and the socialist system.

“Victory comes from perseverance,” Xi said. He asked all departments and regions to prepare for complexity and difficulty in COVID-19 response at home and abroad, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile, in a major adjustment to its anti-pandemic plan China augmented its COVID-19 testing capability by approving rapid self-test kits to curb outbreaks in a faster and scientific manner as daily local cases went up to a two-year high in the last few weeks.

Zhang Wenhong, head of the Centre for Infectious Diseases with the Shanghai-based Huashan Hospital of Fudan University, said the plan has been revised to optimise medical resources management.

He said the country aims to employ “three weapons” to tackle COVID-19: high vaccination rate, effective medications to treat the virus, and abundant medical resources for emergencies, state-run China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported.

China’s National Health Commission has released the revised plan, which calls for only quarantining mild cases instead of admitting them in the hospital unless the conditions worsen.

Recovered patients are now only required to monitor their health in a seven-day home quarantine besides taking a COVID-19 test after leaving hospital, Zhang said.

Previously, a 14-day quarantine at designated places was mandatory.

On Thursday, China reported more than 2,400 local coronavirus infections 1,226 people with symptoms and 1,206 without compared to about 3,000 cases the day before.

The cases were found across the country but most were in the province of Jilin, the epicentre of the new outbreak. It recorded 742 locally transmitted cases and 415 asymptomatic infections, making up nearly half the national total.

More than a dozen other provincial-level regions also saw new locally-transmitted COVID-19 infections, including Beijing, with four cases, according to the commission.

Officials in China’s southern industrial hub Shenzhen which was closed for the past few days following a spike in cases said the outbreak appears to be getting under control and they are now looking at ways to get businesses and factories up and running.

The city is currently in the middle of a week-long lockdown with residents only allowed outside with a special permit.

Shenzhen is prepared to allow business to reopen and resume production as the COVID-19 outbreak appears to be getting under control, the local authorities said on Thursday.

Shenzhen reported 71 symptomatic cases and 20 asymptomatic cases, as China logged more than 2,400 local infections nationwide on Thursday.

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