News ID: 320865
Published: 0252 GMT April 08, 2022

Xi praises China’s virus handling as Shanghai prepares 130,000 COVID beds

Xi praises China’s virus handling as Shanghai prepares 130,000 COVID beds

A medical worker in a protective suit walks past a line of people waiting to take nucleic acid test at a locked down residential area, following the COVID-19 outbreak in Shanghai, China, on April 7, 2022.

China’s President Xi Jinping praised the country’s “tested” zero-COVID strategy on Friday, even as Shanghai authorities prepared nearly 130,000 beds for COVID-19 patients amid surging cases and mounting public anger.

Until March, China had kept cases low with localised lockdowns, mass testing, and strict restrictions on international travel, according to AFP.

But the country has reported thousands of daily cases in recent weeks, with economic hub and outbreak epicentre Shanghai placed under lockdown over ballooning infections of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Shanghai authorities said on Friday that 130,000 new beds were ready or under construction for COVID-positive residents in the city at makeshift venues including exposition halls.

The city reported more than 21,000 new infections on Friday, the vast majority asymptomatic.

Yet President Xi on Friday lauded the country’s COVID response, saying at an event to honour Olympic athletes that the country’s handling of the recent Winter Games showed that its virus policy “once again withstood the test.”

“Some foreign athletes told us that if there was a gold medal for epidemic response, it should be awarded to China,” Xi said at the ceremony in Beijing.

Shanghai’s roughly 25 million inhabitants were locked down in phases last week, prompting scenes of panic buying and mass testing.

Officials softened a policy of splitting COVID-positive children from their virus-free parents after the rule triggered public anger.

But Beijing is sticking to its zero-tolerance approach and is determined to squash the Shanghai outbreak, sending in 38,000 medical workers and 2,000 soldiers from around the country to the city as reinforcements.

The state-run People’s Daily newspaper on Friday declared that zero-COVID remained the “best choice” for China, arguing the country should “never grow numb, never grow tired of fighting, and never grow slack.”

China, the country where the coronavirus was first detected in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019, is among the last remaining places in the world following a zero-COVID approach to the pandemic.

The outbreak has taken on an increasingly serious economic dimension, with China’s factory output falling to its lowest in two years in March, according to independent indices released by Chinese media group Caixin.






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