China will manage COVID-19 with measures against Class-B infectious diseases, instead of Class-A infectious diseases, in a major shift of its epidemic response policies.
China has renamed the Chinese term for COVID-19 from "novel coronavirus pneumonia" to "novel coronavirus infection," said a statement released by the National Health Commission on Monday.
Starting from January 8, 2023, China will downgrade management of the disease from Class A to Class B in accordance with the country's law on prevention and treatment of infectious disease, and remove it from quarantinable infectious disease management carried out in accordance with the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law of the People's Republic of China, added the statement.
Currently, COVID-19 is classified as a Class-B infectious disease but subject to the preventive and control measures for a Class-A infectious disease in China.
At present, three classes (Class A, Class B and Class C) of notifiable infectious diseases in 40 categories are listed in China, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC).
Plague and cholera are listed as Class A infectious diseases. SARS, AIDS and tuberculosis are among the Class B infectious diseases. Class C infectious diseases include influenza, mumps, etc.
Basic conditions have been in place to support such an adjustment, said a document released by the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism against COVID-19 the same day, citing the latest virus mutation, the development of the epidemic and the country's epidemic response basis.
Authorities will drop quarantine measures against people infected with novel coronavirus and stop identifying close contacts or designating high- and low-risk areas, said the document.
COVID-19 cases will receive classified treatment and a timely adjustment will be made to medical care policies. The country will also adjust its testing policies as well as the frequency and content of epidemic information release.
In addition, disease control measures targeting inbound travelers and imported cargo will be lifted, said the document.
Following the adjustment, China's COVID-19 prevention and control efforts will focus on protecting health and preventing severe cases. Measures will be rolled out to protect people's lives and health to the utmost and minimize the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development.
(With input from Xinhua)