Lodi News-Sentinel

China’s COVID czar says pandemic cases have dropped

- Jacob Gu

China’s COVID-19 infections have fallen to a “relatively low” level, a top official said ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, when hundreds of millions of Chinese will be in close contact with each other on the nation’s public transport systems and at festival gatherings.

China’s doing a good job in entering a new stage of the fight against COVID, and the process is “stable and orderly,” outgoing Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said during visits to hospitals in Beijing on Jan. 19.

Sun’s comments come after her colleague Liu He told an audience of internatio­nal billionair­es and bankers in Davos, Switzerlan­d, this week that the peak of infections had passed. China’s President Xi Jinping also said the country’s COVID fight has entered a new stage with “dawn being just ahead.”

The number of hospitaliz­ed patients with severe symptoms are declining “steadily,” Sun said, adding that medical treatment has been apparently effective.

Charged with China’s health care portfolio, Sun once was synonymous with the country’s hardline pandemic approach. It was typically a sign of strict measures coming when she appeared in a city experienci­ng an outbreak — earning her the nickname “Old Lady of Lockdowns” on Chinese social media.

She changed her tone in late November, paving the way for China suddenly abandoning its zero-tolerance approach to fighting the pandemic.

While striking an optimistic tone during her visits on Thursday, Sun stressed that the emergency treatment and care of patients remain tough tasks for medical workers, echoing Xi’s remarks describing the current outbreak as being “fierce.”

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