BEIJING, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- China's continual refining of its COVID-19 policies and its shift to managing the virus based on measures aimed at Class-B infectious diseases will better facilitate the safe and orderly cross-border travel of Chinese and foreign nationals and international exchange and cooperation, as well as being a boon for the global economy, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a daily news briefing in response to a question regarding the nation's recent adjustment in policy for dealing with COVID-19.
According to reports, American, British, German and other foreign chambers of commerce in China, as well as some foreign diplomatic missions in the country, noted that China's decision to downgrade the management of COVID-19 will clear the way for the resumption of personnel exchange and business travel, rebuild foreign investors' confidence in the Chinese market and contribute to restoring optimism and reinstating China as a priority investment destination.
Wang said that China made the decision to manage COVID-19 with measures aimed at Class-B infectious diseases instead of the more serious Class-A ones, in accordance with the law. China has made this adjustment to its response approach based on a comprehensive assessment of the mutation of the virus, the COVID situation and ongoing response efforts.
"It will help make our response more science-based, targeted and effective, restore normalcy to people's work and lives, meet regular medical and health needs, and minimize the impact of COVID-19 on economic and social undertakings," said Wang.
"We are confident that, while effectively safeguarding people's health and preventing severe cases, we will get economic and social activities back to normal more quickly and secure a full and final victory against COVID," he added.
Wang said that in accordance with the decision to manage COVID-19 with measures against Class-B infectious diseases, relevant departments have formulated and released the provisional measures on cross-border travel.
"This will better facilitate the safe and orderly cross-border travel of Chinese and foreign nationals and international exchange and cooperation, and prove to be a boon for the global economy," Wang said.
China will effectively coordinate COVID response and socioeconomic development, steadfastly expand opening-up, and work with all sides to strengthen international cooperation against the pandemic, keep global industrial and supply chains secure and stable, and revitalize the global economy, Wang added.
In response to a question on some Western media discrediting China's COVID policy adjustment, Wang said that this type of rhetoric is driven by bias, intended to smear China and politically motivated.
"There is no truth in such rhetoric, which simply misses the facts. That much is clear to the international community," he said.
He stressed that since COVID began three years ago, the Chinese government has always put the people and their lives above all else. China has poured all its efforts and resources into protecting the lives and health of every Chinese person, which has enabled the country to withstand each wave and get the nation through the difficult time when the virus was wreaking the deadliest havoc, he said.
"Globally speaking, China has had the lowest rates of severe cases and mortality. Despite the pandemic, average life expectancy in China went up from 77.3 to 78.2 years. Even when the global Human Development Index dropped for two years straight, China went up six places on the Index," Wang said.
He said that with Omicron much less pathogenic and deadly, and with China's treatment, testing and vaccination capacity steadily on the rise, the country has taken the initiative to refine its COVID response measures.
"We have shifted the focus of our response from stemming infection to preventing severe cases and caring for health. This shift is science-based, timely and necessary. The aim is to protect the lives and health of the people and reduce the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development to the maximum extent possible," Wang said.
China's COVID situation on the whole remains predictable and under control, said Wang, adding that Beijing is the first city to have gone through the infection peak, where life and work are coming back to normal.
"A small number of Western media have deliberately hyped up and even misrepresented China's COVID policy adjustment, and yet avoided reporting on the deficiencies and heavy price paid due to their own countries' COVID response. This is nothing but double standards and is clearly against journalistic ethics," said the spokesperson.
"A people-first and life-first philosophy, commitment to whole-heartedly safeguarding people's well-being and solidarity with the international community against COVID are the choices China has made and the action China has taken in the face of the pandemic," said Wang.
Wang said that under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, with the concerted effort of the over 1.4 billion Chinese people and with the backing of China's growing comprehensive national strength, China will secure the final victory in the fight against COVID-19. ■