Stage IV: Wuhan and Hubei - An Initial Victory in a Critical Battle
(March 18-April 28, 2020)
以武汉市为主战场的全国本土疫情传播基本阻断，离汉离鄂通道管控措施解除，武汉市在院新冠肺炎患者清零，武汉保卫战、湖北保卫战取得决定性成果，全国疫情防控阻击战取得重大战略成果。境内疫情零星散发，境外疫情快速扩散蔓延，境外输入病例造成关联病例传播。中共中央把握疫情形势发展变化，确定了“外防输入、内防反弹”的防控策略，巩固深化国内疫情防控成效，及时处置聚集性疫情，分类推动复工复产，关心关爱境外中国公民。By making critical advances in the city of Wuhan, the main battleground against the virus, China initially halted the spread of Covid-19 on the mainland. Restrictions on outbound traffic from Wuhan City and Hubei Province were lifted, and all Covid-19 patients in Wuhan hospitals were discharged. China won a critical battle in defending Wuhan and Hubei against Covid-19, which was a major step forward in the nationwide virus control effort.
During this period, sporadic cases were reported, and more infections were caused by inbound arrivals carrying the virus which continued to spread overseas. In response to the evolving Covid-19 dynamics, the CPC Central Committee adopted an approach to prevent the coronavirus from entering the country and stem its domestic resurgence. Efforts were made to consolidate gains in virus control, promptly treat cluster cases, and get the country back to work sector by sector. Care and support were given to Chinese citizens abroad .
(1) March 18: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He emphasized the need to take rigorous steps to stop inbound cases, so that hard-won gains in virus control would not be lost. He urged stronger measures to protect the health of Chinese citizens overseas.
(2) March 18: The State Council issued Decision on Implementation of Measures to Stabilize Employment by Offsetting the Impact of Covid-19.
(3) March 18: For the first time, no new domestic cases were confirmed on the Chinese mainland. By March 19, no new cases had been confirmed for seven days outside of Hubei Province.
(4) March 25: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to hear briefings about virus control and current economic conditions and discuss virus control measures and ways to sustain economic growth.
(5) March 25: Hubei lifted outbound traffic restrictions and removed all health checkpoints on highways across the province except in Wuhan. With the exception of Wuhan, work and life gradually returned to normal in the whole province, and people could now leave Hubei if they had a "green" health code to show that they were not infected.
(6) March 25: Confirmed inbound cases were reported in 23 provinces, signaling the need to curb the spread of the virus.
(7) March 26: President Xi attended the G20 Extraordinary Leaders' Summit on Covid-19 and delivered a speech titled "Working Together to Defeat the Covid-19 Outbreak".
(8) March 27: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He called for a timely improvement in China's Covid-19 control measures in response to changing Covid-19 dynamics, both domestic and globally, with a shift in focus to preventing inbound cases and domestic resurgence, so as to sustain the positive momentum in virus control.
He stressed the need to speedily resume work and normal life while continuing Covid-19 prevention and control, in order to minimize the losses caused by Covid-19 and fulfill the goals of economic and social development set for the year. Provided that prevention and control protocols were duly observed, support should be given to get Hubei back to work in an orderly manner, and help enterprises create jobs, keep their employees, and ensure their livelihoods.
(9) March 29 to April 1: Xi Jinping made an inspection tour to Zhejiang Province to review its Covid-19 control and economic and social development.
He stressed that guarding against inbound infections should be the top priority for the country both now and in the foreseeable future and that control must be targeted and effective so as to build a strong line of defense against inbound cases.
He emphasized the need to remain sensitive to changes, respond to them with well-judged actions, be ready to adjust the approach when necessary, and identify and seize opportunities in the current crisis.
He urged a steady return to work in more sectors while strictly continuing virus control measures and resolving problems hindering the return to work, so as to restore the operation of complete industrial chains.
(10) April 1: Chinese customs began nucleic acid testing (NAT) on inbound arrivals at all points of entry - air, water and land.
(11) April 4: A nationwide ceremony was held on the traditional Tomb-sweeping Day to pay tribute to all those who had given their lives in fighting Covid-19, and others who had died of the novel coronavirus.
(12) April 6: Through its Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, the State Council issued Notice on Prevention and Control Measures for Key Locations, Organizations and Population Groups, and Manual for Management of Asymptomatic Virus Carriers.
(13) April 7: The Central Leading Group for Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control issued Guidelines on Resumption of Work while Preventing and Controlling Covid-19; and the State Council released Guidelines on Covid-19 Prevention and Control Measures for Localities at Different Risk Levels to Resume Work. Region-specific and tiered measures for Covid-19 control were adopted to pave the way for a return to normal work in different locations.
(14) April 8: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He reiterated the need to stay alert against potential risks and be prepared, both in thinking and action, to respond to long-term changes in the external environment.
He warned against any relaxation of the efforts to both stop inbound cases and forestall domestic resurgence of cases. Targeted measures should be taken to manage asymptomatic cases, build a strong line of defense and plug any loopholes that might cause a resurgence of the virus. Control at land and sea points of entry should be tightened to minimize domestic cases caused by inbound arrivals carrying the virus.
(15) April 8: Wuhan lifted its 76-day outbound traffic restrictions; and local work and daily life began to return to normal.
(16) April 10: The number of patients in severe or critical condition in Hubei dropped to double digits for the first time.
(17) April 14: Premier Li Keqiang delivered a speech at a special meeting attended by leaders of ASEAN nations, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea on fight against the novel coronavirus. He shared with these leaders China's experience in coordinating the fight against the virus with its efforts to continue economic and social development. He proposed to strengthen cooperation on the fight against the virus, on efforts to resume economic development, and on policy coordination among the participating countries.
(18) April 15: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to hear briefings on virus control and current economic conditions, and discuss virus response measures and ways to sustain economic growth.
(19) April 17: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He called for full implementation of virus control measures to prevent both inbound cases and domestic resurgence and to build positive momentum in Covid-19 control.
He emphasized the need to follow the general principles of pursuing stable performance and making new progress, returning to work while continuing Covid-19 control, restoring economic and social order, fostering new growth areas, and actively promoting development.
(20) April 17: Wuhan City Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control Command Center released Briefing on Modifying the Figures of Confirmed Covid-19 Cases and Fatalities in Wuhan. By midnight on April 16, the total number of confirmed cases in the city had been revised up by 325 to 50,333, and the number of deaths up by 1,290 to 3,869.
(21) April 20-23: Xi Jinping made an inspection tour to Shaanxi Province. He urged local officials to pursue steady performance, make new progress, and act according to the new development philosophy. He called on them to carry out the following tasks: stabilizing employment, finance, foreign trade, inbound investment, domestic investment, and market expectations, and guaranteeing jobs, daily living needs, food and energy, industrial and supply chains, the interests of market players, and the smooth functioning of grassroots government. By so doing, China could offset the adverse impact of Covid-19 and fulfill the goals of eliminating poverty and achieving moderate prosperity.
(22) April 23: Premier Li Keqiang chaired a video conference on the economic situation in some provinces and cities in order to promote economic and social development in these regions.
(23) April 26: The last hospitalized Covid-19 patient in Wuhan was discharged.
(24) April 27: Xi Jinping chaired the 13th meeting of the Commission for Further Reform under the CPC Central Committee. He pointed out that the CPC leadership and China's socialist system had played a critical role in Covid-19 control and the resumption of business activities in China. As the environment for development became more complicated, China should be more resolute in furthering reform and improving its governing systems, and it should fully leverage its strengths to deal with risks and challenges.
(25) April 27: The Central Steering Group returned to Beijing from Hubei.
Stage V: Ongoing Prevention and Control
(Since April 29, 2020)
Sporadic cases have been reported on the mainland, resulting in case clusters in some locations. Inbound cases are generally under control. The positive momentum in Covid-19 control has thus been locked in, and nationwide virus control is now being conducted on an ongoing basis. China has made vigorous efforts to resume work and reopen schools. The ongoing control measures passed the test of the travel peak during the May Day holiday.
With the approval of the CPC Central Committee, an inter-departmental contact group under the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council was dispatched to Hubei to oversee local virus control .
(1) April 29: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He concluded that thanks to arduous efforts, China had won a vital battle in defending Wuhan and Hubei against the novel coronavirus, and achieved a major strategic success in the nationwide control efforts. At the same time, he emphasized that virus control should continue in key regions and target key groups, with a focus on inbound cases.
(2) April 30: The public health emergency response was lowered to Level 2 in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
(3) May 1: The WHO announced that given the current international Covid-19 dynamics, the novel coronavirus still remained a "public health emergency of international concern".
(4) May 2: The public health emergency response was lowered to Level 2 in Hubei.
(5) May 4: An inter-departmental contact group under the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council was dispatched to Wuhan with the approval of the CPC Central Committee.
(6) May 6: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He pointed out that under the strong leadership of the Central Committee and with the support of all the people, the Central Steering Group had been working with the people of Wuhan and other parts of Hubei Province. They had done their utmost in the fight to curb the spread of the virus and erected a first line of defense for the nation, making a significant contribution to beating the virus.
He said the contact group should guide and support follow-up work in Wuhan and other parts of Hubei and advise on the rehabilitation and psychological counseling of patients in recovery, to ensure that the gains would be consolidated.
(7) May 7: Through the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, the State Council released Guidelines on Conducting Covid-19 Prevention and Control on an Ongoing Basis.
(8) May 8: The CPC Central Committee held a meeting to hear the views and proposals from the central committees of China's eight other political parties, representatives of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and prominent figures without party affiliation. General Secretary Xi chaired and addressed the meeting.
He said that when the novel coronavirus struck, catching the country unawares, the CPC Central Committee gave its full attention to the matter. Putting people's lives and health first, it swiftly adopted a series of policies on prevention and control of the virus and treatment of the infected. It took the country over a month to achieve initial success in curbing the spread of the virus, about two months to bring the daily figure of new domestic cases on the mainland down to single digits, and three months to win a decisive victory in defending Wuhan City and Hubei Province. For China, with a large population of 1.4 billion, this achievement did not come easily.
(9) May 11-12: Xi Jinping made an inspection tour to Shanxi Province to be briefed on what had been done in the province to conduct Covid-19 prevention and control on an ongoing basis while promoting economic and social development, and to consolidate gains in poverty alleviation.
He urged local officials to act according to the new development philosophy for making steady progress, and carry out supply-side structural reform. They were required to stabilize the six fronts (employment, finance, foreign trade, inbound investment, domestic investment, and market expectations), and guarantee the six priorities (jobs, daily living needs, food and energy, industrial and supply chains, the interests of market players, and the smooth functioning of grassroots government).
He called on local officials to overcome the adverse impact of the virus, accelerate high-quality economic transformation, and meet the goals of eliminating poverty and achieving moderate prosperity in all respects.
(10) May 14: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He urged that Covid-19 control be strengthened in key areas and key places to prevent its resurgence, and that targeted measures be taken where case clusters had recently occurred. Flexible and effective measures should be adopted to respond to evolving Covid-19 dynamics overseas, and key sectors and weak links in the prevention of inbound infection should be shored up.
(11) May 15: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to discuss the draft Report on the Work of the Government, which the State Council would submit to the forthcoming Third Session of the 13th National People's Congress for deliberation.
He pointed out that to fulfill the tasks of the year, the nation must carry out Covid-19 prevention and control as well as promoting economic and social development to reach the goal of achieving moderate prosperity in all respects.
He said that while conducting control on an ongoing basis, the country should continue to deliver steady performance, act according to the new development philosophy, conduct supply-side structural reform, promote high-quality development through further reform and opening up, and continue the three critical battles against poverty, pollution and major risks. There should be solid progress in stabilizing the six fronts and guaranteeing the six priorities. Domestic consumption must be expanded, and economic development and social stability must be maintained, so as to fulfill the goals of eliminating poverty and achieving moderate prosperity in all respects.
(12) May 18: President Xi delivered a speech titled "Fighting Covid-19 through Solidarity and Cooperation, Building a Global Community of Health for All" at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly.
(13) May 21-27: The Third Session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference was held in Beijing. May 22-28: The Third Session of the 13th National People's Congress was held in Beijing.
II. Well-Coordinated Prevention, Control and Treatment
The coronavirus caught China unawares. Putting people's lives and health first, the Chinese government has acted swiftly to fight the virus and provide medical treatment for patients. It has adopted the most thorough, rigorous and comprehensive prevention and control measures, enforced quarantine and isolation on a scale never seen before, and mobilized medical resources across the country. It has ensured that all those in need have been tested, quarantined, hospitalized or treated. With these measures in place, China has prevented a wider spread and further development of the virus. "The time that can be gained through the full application of these measures [in China] – even if just days or weeks – can be invaluable in ultimately reducing Covid-19 illness and deaths," says Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) published on February 28, 2020.
1. Centralized and Efficient Command
Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core, China has put in place an efficient system under which the central authorities exercise overall command, while local authorities and all sectors follow the leadership and instructions of the central authorities, perform their respective duties, and cooperate with each other. This highly efficient system has made it possible for China to win its all-out people's war against the virus.
General Secretary Xi Jinping takes charge of Covid-19 response. Attaching high importance to Covid-19 prevention and control, Xi Jinping assumed full command over the control efforts from the very beginning. He highlighted the need to put people's lives and health first, to firm up confidence, strengthen solidarity, adopt a science-based approach, and take targeted measures. He called for a nationwide effort to block the spread of the virus and defeat it.
Xi Jinping has chaired 14 meetings of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, 4 meetings of the Political Bureau, meetings of the Central Commission for Law-based Governance, Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, Central Commission for Further Reform, and Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, and a meeting with prominent non-CPC figures. At these meetings, he heard briefings from the Central Leading Group for Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control and the Central Steering Group, adjusted response measures in view of the evolving.
Covid-19 dynamics, and made decisions on overall plans for strengthening control efforts and international cooperation.
He inspected community response and Covid-19 research in Beijing, and visited Wuhan to guide frontline response. He made inspection tours to Zhejiang, Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces where he was briefed on progress in coordinating epidemic prevention and control with economic and social development, and in poverty alleviation. He has closely followed developments in China's virus control and made timely decisions accordingly.
Government departments have made well-coordinated control efforts. Premier Li Keqiang, as head of the Central Leading Group for Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control, has chaired more than 30 meetings of the leading group to discuss key issues concerning Covid-19 control and economic and social development, and important decisions were made at the meetings. He visited Wuhan and inspected China CDC, the Institute of Pathogen Biology CAMS & PUMC, Beijing West Railway Station, Beijing Capital International Airport, and the National Distribution Center for Major Anti-epidemic Medical Supplies.
The Central Steering Group responded swiftly to guide Hubei Province and Wuhan City to intensify their control efforts. It thus helped contain the virus and hold a strong first line of defense against the virus.
The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council has played the coordinating role and held regular meetings to keep abreast of the situation, dispatch medical teams, and allocate supplies, and it has made timely adjustments to control policies and priorities in response to new developments. Through its mechanism for promoting the return to work, the State Council has strengthened guidance and coordination, removed barriers in the industrial and supply chains, and ensured the resumption of normal daily life.
Local authorities and other stakeholders have lived up to their responsibilities. Emergency command mechanisms headed by leading Party and government officials were established in provinces, cities and counties across the country, forming a top-down system with unified command, frontline guidance, and coordination between departments and among provinces. Local authorities and other stakeholders have implemented each and every one of the decisions, plans and prohibitions of the central authorities, and strictly and effectively enforced all response measures. Thus, an effective and well-functioning whole-of-the-nation control mechanism is in place.