China Focus: Five keywords of China's COVID response

2023-01-12 08:19:43Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download
Special: Battle Against Novel Coronavirus

Three years into its arduous fight against COVID-19, China is making headway toward restoring vitality to the lives of over 1.4 billion people.

People across the country are preparing for the annual travel rush and reunion with their loved ones, restaurants and eateries are reopening, and business representatives are booking charter flights to Europe and beyond in search of new business opportunities.

With China now entering a new phase of COVID response, the normalcy of hustle and bustle is trickling back to the world's second-largest economy.

Under the leadership of Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, China has achieved economic and social development over the past three years, while protecting the lives and health of the Chinese people to the greatest extent.

The miracle can be decoded into five keywords: "fight," "prevention," "coordination," "optimization" -- with the goal of returning to "normalcy."

Behind those five words is the CPC's people-centered philosophy, which has led the Chinese to the light of hope and will continue to guide the country through future challenges.


A typical morning in Wuhan always starts with a bowl of hot dry noodles.

"It is the taste of home," said Zhao Lei, a 27-year-old Wuhan resident who often enjoys the noodles at a street stand or an outdoor restaurant.

For Zhao and many others in the central Chinese city, these moments of peace are like the rainbow after a storm. They would not have had the pleasure of enjoying this traditional noodle dish in such a leisurely fashion, had an uphill battle not been won against the fast-spreading novel coronavirus.

The Chinese phrase for "anti-epidemic" contains the character "kang," meaning "fight" or "combat." In China, this word has been spoken to muster nationwide courage and solidarity to fight invaders, devastating floods or calamitous earthquakes.

It was used again when an epidemic erupted in Wuhan about three years ago. Initially identified as a pneumonia with an unknown cause, COVID-19 soon became, in Xi's words, the fastest spreading, most extensive and most challenging public health emergency the country had encountered since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

Under the leadership of the CPC, China declared war against the virus to protect lives, with Xi stressing that people's lives are "heavier than Mount Tai" and must be protected "at any cost."

The CPC's approach to tackling the raging pandemic was resolute. Through dozens of meetings of the central Party leadership, the Party mobilized the entire country to support the battle in Wuhan and the province of Hubei.

Unprecedented and brave steps were taken in China. Wuhan suspended all outbound trains and flights to slow down virus transmission. Gyms and exhibition centers were converted into temporary wards. Doctors and experts raced against time to improve the diagnosis and treatment of the previously unknown disease.

Strong central leadership ensured the orderly supply of water, electricity, heating, telecommunications and other essential materials and services for over 1.4 billion people, in the face of a fierce onslaught from the epidemic.

The nation's solidarity can be seen clearly in its anti-virus battle. Tens of thousands of medical workers rushed to the front line, postponing weddings, cutting short their time with their families, and even sacrificing their own lives.

Among these medical workers was Zhang Dingyu, both a patient and a doctor. Zhang had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), yet he saved the lives of many patients as the head of the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, one of the major battlefields during the Wuhan epidemic.

"I tried to run faster to save time and more patients," said Zhang, who was often seen staggering between hospital wards.

The heroic medics were not fighting alone as the nation pulled together in its anti-virus drive. Tens of thousands of workers constructed the Leishenshan and Huoshenshan hospitals in just two weeks. Hundreds of millions of people answered the government's call to remain in their local areas during the Spring Festival over the past three years.

China was also not fighting alone in the battle against COVID-19. The Chinese people still remember the planes carrying aid materials from Russia, the decision by Pakistan to donate entire inventories of masks, and the 30,000 sheep sent by Mongolia as a token of support, among the many acts of friendship and solidarity from other countries.

As the world's largest developing country, China also extended helping hands to other countries, even when it was still reeling from the domestic outbreak. So far, China has sent teams of medical experts to 34 countries to fight the pandemic, and has offered over 120 nations and international organizations 2.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

China's communication with the world has been timely and candid. On Jan. 9, 2020, one day after Chinese experts initially identified the novel coronavirus as the cause of the epidemic, China informed the World Health Organization (WHO) about the epidemic, sharing its initial progress in pathogen identification.

On Jan. 12, 2020, China submitted to the WHO the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus. China's plans for treatment, as well as epidemic control and prevention, were also published for other countries to review.

Placing lives above all, national unity, heroism, selflessness, respect for science and solidarity with the international community -- these values have all been etched into China's spirit in its fight against the pandemic, and will be a national psyche to inspire many future generations.


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