Sun Yeli, a spokesman for the Chinese Communist Party, said on Saturday, October 15, that the regime would improve its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said as Reuters quoted, “Our prevention and control strategies and measures will become more scientific, more accurate, and more effective. We firmly believe that the dawn is ahead, and persistence is victory.”

Sun was delivering remarks at a conference ahead of the country’s opening of its 20th National Congress on October 16. 

The Party’s propaganda chief still stressed the policy’s values, praising it as the most economical and effective approach. Joining the chorus of recent state media releases, he maintained that the country had achieved low infection and mortality rates while promoting social and economic stability.

There have been questions about whether the CCP would change its uncompromising pandemic strategy after the political event. In preparation for the pivotal week, officials have only further tightened commute freedoms with COVID as justification. This sparked rare public fallout on October 13, with residents yelling against COVID testing and the lockdowns.

According to Bloomberg, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected that the world’s second economy will forgo the policy by the second half of 2023. The IMF’s senior resident representative in China, Steve Barnett, said the restrictions have been painful to the economy, especially when the highly transmissive omicron variant is spreading. The IMF estimated that China’s growth for 2022 would slow to 3.2% as a result.

Business research firm Capital Economics told Reuters the holdout may remain until the end of 2023.

The company warns, “Another year of ‘zero-COVID’ equals another year of depressed consumer activity and a high risk of recurrent large-scale lockdowns.”

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