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China denounces US for ‘groundless accusations’ against Beijing’s COVID-19 policy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Medical workers on April 9, 2022, check a child at Shanghai New International Exhibition Hall, which has been turned into a makeshift hospital for COVID-19 patients. (Photo by Reuters)

China has condemned the United States for its ‘groundless accusations’ against Beijing’s policy on curbing COVID-19 contagious disease, as Shanghai lockdown drags on.

Despite Beijing’s zero-Covid strategy that proved undeniably effective in controlling and curbing COVID-19 contagious disease across the Asian country since early in 2020, more than 100,000 fresh cases emerged in Shanghai, China’s biggest city and a global financial hub, since March.

The new cases prompted the government to enforce phased lockdown on the city with some 26 million inhabitants, a move that incited initial complaints of food shortages and reported clashes with health workers.

Early this week, the government said that it had dispatched military and thousands of healthcare workers to help carry out COVID-19 tests for residents of Shanghai, in China’s biggest public health response ever.

The US embassy said on Saturday that it would allow non-essential employees to leave its consulate in Shanghai due to a surge of new cases, warning citizens in China that they might face “arbitrary enforcement” of virus curbs.

In response, Beijing said it expressed “strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the US side's groundless accusations about China's epidemic control policy”, according to a statement issued Saturday on the foreign ministry’s website.

“This is the US's own decision. However, it must be pointed out that China’s epidemic control policy is scientific and effective,” further said Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, adding that Beijing had lodged “solemn representations” with American counterparts.

“We have full confidence that Shanghai and other places will overcome this round of the epidemic,” Zhao stressed.

Shanghai on Saturday reported a record 24,943 new infections, mostly asymptomatic, accounting for over 90 percent of the national total.

The surge prompted the authorities to make ready tens thousands of new beds in more than 100 makeshift hospitals as part of a policy of isolating every individual who tests positive for the virus, whether or not they show any symptoms.

The latest COVID-19 surge in Shanghai has been fueled by the highly-contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which was spotted first in South Africa late last year. The city had managed its smaller, past outbreaks with limited lockdowns.

China, where the novel coronavirus originated in late 2019, has called its "zero-tolerance" approach the most economical and effective prevention strategy against the pandemic.

Chinese officials have already proved that they would not change their minds toward the zero-tolerance approach.

City health official Wu Qianyu said during a Sunday press conference that the city “would not relax in the slightest.”

The country’s anti-coronavirus measures, including mass testing, vaccination, and lockdown of cities and provinces for even small numbers of infections, have been largely successful in curbing the disease.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged officials to make all-out efforts in containing the fresh coronavirus outbreak while adhering to its “dynamic-clearance” policy.

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