China shortens quarantine period for recovered Covid patients to save medical resources

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China has shortened the mandatory quarantine period for recovered COVID-19 patients to save medical resources for severe cases as the country grapples with a two-year high in new infections.

Reviewing China’s attempts to contain the renewed spread of the pandemic during a meeting of the Political Bureau Standing Committee of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, President Xi Jinping urged swift containment of the spread of COVID-19.

Since the COVID-19 response measures were regularly enforced, China has effectively responded to regional cluster infections and provided the best possible protection for people’s life and health, Xi was quoted as saying by the official media. The country’s economic performance and response to COVID-19 — both world leaders — have fully demonstrated its strength and capacity in epidemic prevention and control, he said, emphasizing the benefits of Chinese Communist Party and socialist leadership systems.

“Victory comes from perseverance,” Xi said. He urged all departments and regions to prepare for the complexity and difficulty of the COVID-19 response at home and abroad, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. Meanwhile, in a major adjustment to its anti-pandemic plan, China expanded its COVID-19 testing capacity by approving rapid self-testing kits to contain outbreaks faster and more scientifically as daily local cases surged to a two-year high in recent weeks.

Zhang Wenhong, head of the Infectious Diseases Center at Fudan University’s Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, said the plan has been revised to streamline medical resource management. He said the country wants to use “three weapons” to fight COVID-19: a high vaccination rate, effective drugs to treat the virus and ample medical resources for emergencies, the state-run China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported.

China’s National Health Commission has released the revised plan, which says only mild cases will be quarantined instead of hospitalized unless conditions worsen. Recovered patients now only need to monitor their health in a seven-day home quarantine and take a COVID-19 test after leaving the hospital, Zhang said.

Previously, a 14-day quarantine at designated locations was mandatory. On Thursday, China reported more than 2,400 local coronavirus infections, 1,226 people with symptoms and 1,206 without symptoms, compared to about 3,000 cases the previous day.

Cases were found across the country, but most were in Jilin province, the epicenter of the new outbreak. 742 locally transmitted cases and 415 asymptomatic infections were recorded, accounting for almost half of the national total. There have also been new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections in more than a dozen other provincial-level regions, including Beijing with four cases, according to the commission.

Officials in China’s southern industrial hub of Shenzhen, which has been shut down in recent days after a spike in cases, said the outbreak appears to be coming under control and they are now looking at ways to get businesses and factories up and running. The city is currently in the middle of a week-long lockdown, during which residents are only allowed outside with a special permit.

Shenzhen is ready to allow business to reopen and production to resume as the COVID-19 outbreak appears to be under control, local authorities said on Thursday. Shenzhen reported 71 symptomatic cases and 20 asymptomatic cases as China recorded more than 2,400 local infections nationwide on Thursday.

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