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Zero-tolerance to virus works and will persist: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2022-01-04 19:57
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People line up for nucleic acid test at a mobile testing site in Xincheng district of Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi province, Jan 2, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Will China's zero-tolerance policy toward the novel coronavirus continue to work effectively to prevent the breakout of infections on a large scale? This is the question some Western media are asking with Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi province, under lockdown thanks to a sudden flare-up of infections. 

It is an approach that the country has taken from the very beginning, and one that has paid dividends.

It is unimaginable how many more people would have been infected and even lost their lives in Wuhan if the city had not been placed under lockdown in early 2020. 

It is the lockdown in Wuhan and strict observance of control and prevention measures in other parts of the country where small clusters of infections have been detected that have made it possible for the country's economy to return to normal when an increasing number of countries fell to the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The approach, which involves a partial lockdown or quarantine of neighborhoods where infections are identified and the tracing of contacts of those infected, has kept the major part of the country free from the virus. As a result, residents in most parts of the country lead a normal life without worrying about being infected.

The good job China has done in containing the spread of the virus has allowed economic activities to continue, resulting in its strong foreign trade performance last year. China's foreign trade volume is expected to have exceeded $6 trillion last year, up 20 percent from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. It is estimated that the country's total foreign trade in 2021 will account for 16 percent of the world's total, further consolidating its position as the world's largest goods trader. 

When other major economies are still struggling to bring the virus under control — the United States recorded 1 million new infections on Monday, as a result of the fast-spreading Omicron variant that is sweeping across the country — it is China that has become a major contributor to the growth of the global economy. And it is China that has supported the world with the majority of commodities many countries need for their fight against the pandemic.

There is no reason for China to give up its zero-tolerance COVID policy. 

Of course, it does not mean that the approach it has adopted leaves nothing to be desired. Local governments need to learn the lessons from the outbreak in Xi'an and sum up experience to make control and prevention measures more targeted and arrangements more detailed to make life easier for those placed under a lockdown.

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