China's ruling Communist Party has claimed to have scored a "decisive victory" over the coronavirus pandemic by minimising the casualties and staunchly defended its much-criticised zero-COVID policy, saying that it has succeeded in preventing the widespread prevalence of variants.
Since December last year, millions of people in China contracted the Omicron virus and unofficial reports said thousands of people, especially those above 60 years old, fell victim to it.
More than 200 million people were treated and nearly 800,000 patients in severe conditions received effective treatment, according to an official press release issued after the party's political bureau meeting held on Thursday.
With a strong sense of responsibility and strategic resolve, China has optimised and adjusted the COVID-19 prevention and control measures in light of the evolving situation, and effectively balanced pandemic containment with economic and social development, it said.
"As a result, we have succeeded in preventing the widespread prevalence of variants that are more virulent and fatal, effectively protecting people's safety and health, and buying us precious time for winning the battle against the pandemic", it said.
"We have scored a decisive victory in our response to COVID-19. China, a country with a large population of 1.4 billion, has created a remarkable feat in the history of human civilisation by successfully walking out of the pandemic," the party claimed.
Since November 2022, the focus was on optimising response measures to safeguard the health and prevent severe cases and secure a smooth transition within a short period of time, it said.
China's mortality rate of COVID-19 has been kept at the lowest level globally, it said without providing any data on the death count during the recent Omicron spread in the country.
Last month Chinese health officials reported 59,938 new coronavirus deaths in hospitals across the country over the last 30 days, amid criticism from the WHO that Beijing was heavily under-reporting the magnitude of the pandemic.
China was the rare country where its vaccination campaign focused more on people below 60 years to keep the working-age population safe.
The country's zero covid policy was effective to halt the Delta variant but fell flat to containing the Omicron variant of COVID.
Periodic lockdowns of top cities including Shanghai and arbitrary sealing of residential buildings resulted in rare public protests in December last year, prompting the government to lift the restrictions suddenly. It resulted in the massive spread of Covid in the country.
China reopened its borders to international travellers on January 8 after nearly three years.
The coronavirus initially broke out in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019 before it spread to other countries and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)