China has held more than 300 technological exchange events about COVID-19 with other countries, regions and international organizations, said a government spokesperson, refuting foreign reports playing down China's achievement in controlling the disease.
"In the three years of fighting COVID-19, China protected people's life and health," Mi Feng, spokesperson for China's National Health Commission, told CGTN during a press conference on Friday. "We also made important contributions to the international community."
According to Mi, China took strong measures to control the virus at the beginning, buying precious time for the world to get prepared.
"We actively shared information about COVID-19," he said. "We reported the disease to the World Health Organization, publicized the gene sequence, published treatment and control guidelines as fast as possible."
This information provided a scientific foundation for the world to develop vaccines and test kits, he added.
In addition to technological exchanges, China also sent 37 medical expert teams to 34 nations, sharing China's experience with the rest of the world.
China was the first country to promise exemption for IP rights of COVID-19 vaccines, and also the first to cooperate with other developing countries on vaccine production. China has provided over 2.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is also playing part in COVID-19 treatment. China has held more than 100 video events to introduce TCM treatment to over 150 countries and regions, according to Mi.
Mi said China wants to go on working with the international community to fight COVID-19 and protect people.
Pre-travel testing still in place for inbound passengers
China has canceled nucleic acid tests for international travelers after their arrival in China, but they must take a PCR test within 48 hours of their departure.
An official with the Chinese Foreign Ministry explained on Friday that the requirement is necessary to both guarantee a safe trip for the travelers and prevent the cross-border spread of the coronavirus.
"We want to make it easy for passengers while stopping the virus from spreading across the borders," said Wu Xi, head of the Department of Consular Affairs at the ministry. "If the traveler shows no symptoms or has not been infected with the virus, his or her planned trips will not get affected by these measures."
China has suspended short-term visa issuance to South Koreans and Japanese as a reciprocal measure. Wu said the discriminatory entry restrictions against Chinese citizens in the two countries are "not acceptable" and called for the removal of these restrictions.
With the tests canceled, China is taking other measures to monitor the international spread of COVID-19.
Chen Cao, a researcher at the National Institute for Viral Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), said the CDC has set up "sentinel points" in many ports of entry across the country, adding that hospitals will also help monitoring the situation.
"If you feel uncomfortable during entry, please report to the customs officers," Chen said. "If you feel bad after entry, please go to hospitals for help."
Surging number of international flights
China's optimized COVID-19 measures have led to a surging number of flights in and out of the country, said Kong Fanwei, deputy director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC)'s Flight Standards Department, on Friday.
"This week, the number of our international passenger flights is expected to top 563, involving 63 foreign countries, accounting for six percent and 87.5 percent of the level prior to the pandemic respectively," said Kong.
"In the future, as the need for the international aviation market continues to expand, we estimate that relevant transportation and production will maintain a steady recovery."
Liu Haitao, director general of the Department of Frontier Inspection and Management under the National Immigration Administration, said on Friday that "from January 8 to 12, immigration administrations across China have inspected a daily average of 490,000 cross-border trips, which is 48.9 percent higher than the period prior to new COVID-19 measures, and about 26.2 percent higher than the same period in 2019."