China claims that since it relaxed rigorous containment measures in November, more than 200 million citizens have received diagnoses and treatment for COVID-19.
China has “decisively vanquished” the pandemic, according to minutes from a meeting of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee of the ruling Communist Party, which was presided over by President and party chief Xi Jinping.
Eight hundred thousand of the most seriously ill patients have recovered.
China implemented some of the strictest travel bans, quarantines, and lockdowns in history.
The virus’s origins, initially discovered in late 2019 in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, are still a mystery.
Heavy-handed enforcement led to infrequent anti-government demonstrations and severely hurt the second-largest economy in the world.
The unexpected suspension in November and December of the “zero COVID” policy that had intended to eliminate all cases of the virus led to a rise in infections that momentarily overflowed hospitals, but Xi was cited as adding that methods to control the outbreak had been “absolutely proper.”
Although foreign travel into and out of China has not yet recovered to pre-pandemic levels, case counts have peaked, and life has virtually returned to normal.
After an “exceptional in the extreme” battle against the epidemic, China is now moving towards a post-pandemic period, according to Xinhua.
With a strong sense of historical responsibility and strategic resolve, the government will continue to “optimize and modify prevention and control policies and measures according to the times and situations,” according to Xinhua.