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There was no better time to reopen China, says top adviser

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Beijing, Jan 9 (Ajit Weekly News) The top adviser shaping China’s coronavirus response insists winter was the best time for the country to reopen from zero-Covid when considering vaccination uptake and waning immunity, according to his interview with state broadcaster CCTV, the media reported.

Liang Wannian, the leader of the Covid-19 expert response team under the National Health Commission, acknowledged that the opening-up had harmed the elderly population in China, causing many deaths and severe cases, because the virus had spread too widely and too fast, South China Morning Post reported.

But he stressed that, contrary to popular belief, opening up in winter was better than in summer because the protection provided by vaccination last summer was not strong enough but if delayed until next summer, the immunity of Chinese would have waned.

“At that time (last summer), we were not able to achieve the desired level of protection for the entire elderly population. The overall national vaccination rate for the elderly was relatively low, so we took advantage of these window periods to further strengthen the vaccination of the elderly population,” Liang told CCTV on Sunday.

Even the coming summer was not ideal given the waning immunity from vaccination, he said.

“June and July is the best time, with few respiratory diseases, but in June and July it is also the time when the protection of active immunity from vaccination in our elderly population is decreasing,” Liang said, South China Morning Post reported.

Liang defended the timing of the reopening and said by the end of 2022 developments in the pandemic and within China’s population were an opportunity to adjust its policy.

“The pathogen’s harm has decreased, and China’s immunity level increased, including its vaccination rate, especially among the elderly,” he said. “Furthermore, we have been preparing resources, including drugs and measures to help severe cases,” South China Morning Post reported.

–Ajit Weekly News


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