China is willing to bear temporary economic effects rather than harm its people, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday.
During a trip to Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the first cases of COVID-19 were found in December 2019, Xi stressed the need for Beijing to continue with its stringent "zero-COVID" policy.
"Given China's large population, if it pursues herd immunity and adopts a 'lying down' approach, the consequences would be unimaginable. The dynamic 'zero-COVID' is the most economical and effective choice for the country," Xi said, according to state-run daily Global Times.
Beijing has intermittently relied on strict curbs and lockdowns to stem the spread of the virus, leading to a slowdown in commercial activities and denting the country's chances of meeting annual growth targets.
Xi, however, emphasized that the government would "rather temporarily affect economic development than harm the lives and health of its people."
"China has the ability and the strength to implement a dynamic zero-COVID policy until reaching final victory," he said.
China's National Health Commission revised its guidelines for international travelers on Tuesday.
They will now spend seven days at a government-run quarantine facility and another three days at home, down from 14 days in quarantine and seven in self-isolation.
China recorded 24 new coronavirus cases over the past day, with 21 of them being people who arrived from abroad, according to the NHC.
The country's overall case tally since December 2019 now stands 225,605, including 5,226 deaths.