Chinese health officials gave no signal on Saturday, November 5, about easing COVID restrictions after several days of speculation. Rumors were that the regime was considering ending the zero-COVID policy that has hit economic growth and disrupted daily life.

According to Reuters, disease control official Hu Xiang said at a news conference that China’s virus-control measures are “completely correct, as well as the most economical and effective.”

The speculation followed a week in which China’s stock markets rallied with the hope that it would ease restrictions. It was even strengthened on Friday when a former health official said at a banking conference that China would make substantial changes to its current “zero-COVID” policy in the coming months.

Beijing has enforced the policy strictly, including massive lockdowns, forced quarantine, and regular compulsory testing to contain COVID.  

Some provinces have implemented measures unscientifically, as reported in Nanchong, Zhengzhou, and Henan. Officials even deliberately turned the health codes of thousands of citizens to red, confining them in place.   

A National Health Commission official, Tuo Jia, admitted complaints of virus control enforcement in some areas and advised that local authorities should balance COVID measures and economic growth.

She said, “We must conduct prevention and control resolutely, decisively, scientifically and accurately, and resolutely clean up and stop all forms of simplification, a one-size-fits-all approach, and excessive local measures.” 

International attention was focused on stringent virus implementation at Apple’s key supplier, the Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou.

Areas around the factory were locked down for virus containment. The plant is one of the biggest factories in the world, employing 200,000 workers. Workers reportedly fled the facility due to unbearable conditions resulting from strict control measures.

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