"Since COVID-19 struck, we have put the people first and put life first all along. Following a science-based and targeted approach, we have adapted our COVID response in light of the evolving situation to protect the life and health of the people to the greatest extent possible."
- Chinese President Xi Jinping said in his 2023 New Year Address.
CGTN made 20 graphics with facts and figures to offer a glimpse into China's endeavors and progress in this three-year arduous battle against the virus.
Putting the people and their lives first
Putting people first and giving top priority to people's lives has been the distinctive feature of China's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three years on, China has effectively coped with over 100 COVID-19 epidemic outbreaks and managed to keep its incidence rate, severe illness rate and mortality rate at the world's lowest level, saving numerous lives.
China has issued nine editions of prevention and control plans and diagnosis and treatment plans to guide the fight against COVID-19. Anti-virus decision-making and efforts are science-based and correspond to changing situations.
Over 90 percent of the 1.4 billion population has been fully vaccinated, with nearly 3.48 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses having been administered. Almost 87 percent of people over the age of 60 have been fully vaccinated, while 66.4 percent of people aged over 80 have completed a full course of vaccination.
With a population of 267 million aged above 60, China is accelerating vaccination among this group. In late November, the country released a work plan to improve the vaccination rate among the elderly.
China has also started administering a fourth COVID-19 vaccine dose, including an innovative inhalable version.
Steady economic development
China registered an average annual economic growth of around 4.5 percent for the past three years – significantly higher than the world's average, revealing the economy's remarkable resilience and overall stability.
In 2022, the Chinese economy continued to pursue recovery. China's GDP increased by 3 percent year on year in the first three quarters of the year.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland, in actual use, hit a record high of nearly 1 trillion yuan ($144.4 billion) in 2020. That for 2022 exceeded 1 trillion yuan in just third quarters.
Amid the worldwide slump in shipments in 2020, China logged a 1.9 percent year-on-year growth of the foreign trade in goods. Behind the growth of 21.4 percent last year and 8.6 percent in the first 11 months this year, it was China's unceasing efforts to maintain a stable and smooth industrial and supply chain, and provide quality goods worldwide.
Adapted COVID response based on evolving situation
During the fight against COVID-19, China has effectively coordinated COVID-19 response with economic and social development, and refined the response policy in light of the evolving situation.
"We have now entered a new phase of COVID response where tough challenges remain."
- Xi said in his New Year Address.
With the mutation of the virus, the change of the epidemic situation, the popularization of vaccination and the accumulation of experience in prevention and control, China's epidemic prevention and control has entered a new stage.
"The current focus of the response has been shifted from infection prevention to medical treatment," said Liang Wannian, head of the COVID-19 response expert panel under the National Health Commission (NHC), adding that the utmost efforts will be made to prevent severe cases and fatalities.
To ensure a smooth, orderly transition of its measures, China has taken a combination of measures to boost access to medical treatment and drugs, improve health services for the elderly and other key groups, accelerate COVID-19 vaccination, and strengthen epidemic prevention and control in rural areas.