Xi vows to stick to zero-tolerance approach to Covid

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Xi vows to stick to zero-tolerance approach to Covid

Even as public anger in Shanghai and economic costs mount, Xi Jinping says his government will stick to its zero-tolerance approach to Covid.

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The official Xinhua News Agency reported late Wednesday that prevention and control work can't be relaxed during a trip to the island province of Hainan, the financial hub saw a record 27,719 new cases.

Xi said that officials implementing Covid Zero need to adhere to the principle of people first and life first. Persistence is a victory, he added.

Xi, who is likely to win a third five-year term during a Communist Party congress later this year, is facing one of the biggest tests of his tenure. The lockdown of tens of millions in the city of Shanghai and the northeastern province of Jilin has sparked widespread criticism of his government's response to the highly infectious Omicron variant.

Residents who have been kept out of their homes have been making a rare display of pushback, as they have been barred from leaving their homes. While there have been a few signs of easing, such as allowing Shanghai, Guangzhou and six other cities to cut quarantine times for some people people, senior officials have publicly argued that China must stick to its strict approach.

That strategy involved mass testing, long quarantines and mostly closed borders. The economic damage has been large, with factories forced to shut and supply chains clogged due to the social cost.

Premier Li Keqiang has warned of the risks of economic growth, and the central bank is expected to cut its key policy interest rate for the second time this year and reduce the reserve requirement ratio within a few days to help the economy.

Covid Zero has added to the tensions with the U.S., which this week ordered all non-emergency staff at its consulate in Shanghai to leave the Asian nation, prompting a spokesman at the nation s Foreign Ministry to accuse Washington of attacking and smearing China.

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