China's top leaders on Thursday (February 16th) hailed the "
" of the country's exit from its very strict zero Covid policy, calling it a "
big decisive victory
", according to state media.
China has seen an explosion of infections after lifting its very strict health measures from the beginning of December, raising fears that the most populous country in the world could become a breeding ground for new strains that are more transmissible or more serious.
New restrictions for travelers from China
Many countries were quick to impose new restrictions on travelers from China, citing a lack of transparency about the scale of the outbreak, which angered Beijing.
Hospitals and crematoriums in major cities, including Beijing, have been overwhelmed, but the true scale of the outbreak is difficult to quantify because official data represents only a tiny fraction of the actual number of cases.
Signs have emerged in recent weeks that the wave of Covid-19 is running out of steam.
The country's health control office said on Wednesday that the number of people receiving care for Covid in hospitals had fallen by more than 98% since early January.
A meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee said on Thursday that China "
created a miracle in the history of human civilization where a populous country successfully emerged from a widespread epidemic
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In a relatively short period of time, we have achieved a smooth transition in epidemic prevention and control
," concluded the meeting attended by President Xi Jinping, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
More than 200 million people have been treated for Covid, including 800,000 seriously ill patients, but the situation is now "
", according to the report.