Live news updates: China’s state media is stressing its zero-covid policy amid protests

China’s most important state and party media reiterated the country’s adherence to its strict anti-coronavirus policy on Monday after a weekend in which rare protests erupted in cities across the country.

The People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, ran a front-page editorial, authored by Zhong Yin, a pseudonym seen as referring to the party’s line on Covid politics. The article called for “improving the effectiveness of anti-epidemic work” and praised the recently announced “20 measures” aimed at partial easing of the zero Covid policy.

He added that eliminating outbreaks early was crucial to the success of the approach, while emphasizing an important principle of the zero Covid approach.

People’s Daily writes: “Timely detection and control of infected persons in the community, accurate identification and control of close contacts, identification and timely declaration of risk areas are the keys to seizing the opportunity for epidemic prevention and control.”

Earlier this month, the government eased quarantine requirements on close contacts and international travellers, in the first marginal relaxation of Xi Jinping’s Covid-free strategy since the policy was reaffirmed at a Communist Party congress in October.

But the escalating caseload, which has continued to climb after reaching record levels last week, has prompted a wave of lockdowns and restrictions across the country.

Xinhua, the official state news agency, on Monday published an editorial that called on the country to “unswervingly” uphold the principle of “prioritizing people’s lives,” and forbid “importing [the virus] from abroad” and preventing it from “rebounding domestically,” two phrases associated with Beijing’s strategy to eradicate COVID-19.

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