Medical workers take swab samples from residents for nucleic acid test at a COVID-19 testing site in Beijing, March 21, 2022. (PHOTO / XINHUA)
With more than 1,500 new infections and more than 20,000 asymptomatic cases reported in the 24 hours from Saturday to Sunday, the novel coronavirus situation in the Chinese mainland is still grave.
Yet, the situation would have been much worse had it not been for the measures such as placing some neighborhoods or communities under lockdown, screening for infections with large scale nucleic acid testing and making sure social distancing is observed in public venues.
Contrary to the misperception of some, the objective of China's dynamic clearing policy is not the ideal of no infections all over the country and all the time. Instead, it requires a swift response whenever the infections are reported so that spread of the virus can be controlled within as limited an area as possible. In such a way, the spread of the virus can be constantly kept at bay to avoid the large number of deaths that the virus would otherwise likely cause among the aged with chronic diseases.
China has indeed done a good job in timely responding to the surge of sporadic infections. There is no reason for it to fundamentally change its policy as there are signs that the spread of the virus among communities has been eased over the past few days.
What China has achieved in its response to the repeated waves of sporadic infections in the past more than two years speaks volume about the fact that its dynamic clearing policy can bring the spread of the virus under control in the shortest time and at the lowest social cost.
It is wrong to consider the Omicron variant of the virus as being no worse than the virus that causes the common flu. As the increasing number of deaths in recent days among senior residents infected with the virus in Shanghai shows, it is dangerous for senior residents with chronic diseases to get infected with the Omicron variant. It warrants necessary preventive measures to reduce the risks for elderly residents.
However, that being said, there is enough reason for the country to make minor adjustments in the implementation of its preventive measures since the Omicron variant is more transmissible than the previous variants. The increasing number of asymptomatic cases makes it even more difficult to curb its transmission in communities.
As a result, flexibility is needed in the implementation of the dynamic clearing policy to reduce the interruption of economic activities to the minimum and minimize the inconvenience caused to people's lives.
That some major factories have resumed production in Shanghai by keeping workers in a closed environment is an example of the adjustment made in the implementation of the policy. More adjustments may be needed to make sure the control and prevention measures are more targeted so as to keep the disruptions to production and normal life as limited as possible.