May 10, 2022: On Thursday, according to state media, Chinese President Xi Jinping headed a meeting of top leaders emphasizing the country should stick to its “dynamic zero-Covid” policy and cautioned that economic consequences would follow if it didn’t.
The officials called on the country to unify behind the Chinese Communist Party central committee’s decisions and “resolutely fight” against all questioning of virus control policies, state media said.
At a meeting on Thursday, the leaders were the central committee’s Politburo standing committee, a close group of officials around Xi. The previous Friday, the broader Politburo held a basic meeting that upheld the zero-Covid policy while wanting support for the economic growth target.
The last time Xi held a standing committee meeting about the virus was in March; the readout mentioned the way control measures should reduce the impact on the economy as much as possible, said Ting Lu, the chief China economist at the Japanese investment bank Nomura.
He said that references to balancing such a policy with economic growth weren’t included in the latest meeting’s readout.
The meeting on Thursday discussed how relaxing virus prevention and control measures would lead to large-scale infections, severe illness, and death. At the same time, the economy and the safety and health of people would be seriously affected.
News of the meeting came as the country faced its worst Covid outbreak since 2020. In Beijing, the southeastern metropolis of Shanghai, and a few smaller towns have suspended much local business and imposed travel restrictions, which prompts investment banks to cut expectations for growth.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of China published a study in November that said shifting to other countries’ “coexistence” strategy would likely result in hundreds of thousands of daily cases and devastate the national medical system.