Back to normal
Editorial  ·  2023-01-13  ·   Source: NO.3 JANUARY 19, 2023

China reopened its borders on January 8 in a final farewell to COVID-induced restrictions. The country scrapped quarantine requirements for overseas arrivals as it is no longer managing COVID-19 with measures designed for the most dangerous infectious diseases, e.g., the bubonic plague and cholera.

After three years of strict COVID-19 management, the country is now resuming normal life. The nationwide daily hustle and bustle and crowds livening up the urban landscape are becoming common sights once again.

Many have worked on the frontlines in the fight against the virus, including medical workers, vaccine developers and community volunteers. Other members of society have also contributed their bit as they stood united and abided by pandemic control rules, even when this happened at the cost of convenience and economic opportunity, to protect people's lives. History will remember all they have done and the sacrifices they have made for the greater good.

But now the time has come for a change. Considering factors such as the development of the pandemic, including the scientific evaluation of the Omicron variant, which showed the virus had become less deadly, the increase in vaccination levels, and extensive prevention and treatment experience, China has entered a new phase of COVID-19 response.

The focus is on protecting people's health and preventing severe cases. Senior citizens, pregnant women, children and patients with chronic, underlying diseases have received special attention as hospitals and clinics across the nation do everything in their power to deliver the care these people need.

And with the country's travel restrictions lifted, worldwide people-to-people exchanges as well as investment and trade are revving up. Though international travel may not immediately return to pre-pandemic levels, companies, industries and countries that rely on Chinese tourists will surely get a boost in 2023. On January 9, Thai Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul went to the airport to welcome tourists from China.

One of the lessons the pandemic has taught us is the importance of solidarity and collaboration. Going forward, countries must all team up to secure a shared future.

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