According to a report in the government-owned Global Times, the unexpected video conference held by the State Council was attended by officials at the county, city and council levels. Also in attendance were senior Chinese officials, including Premier Li Keqiang, who urged authorities to take measures to preserve jobs and reduce unemployment.
In some respects, the economic impact seen in March and April has outpaced that of 2020 during the initial outbreak of the coronavirus, Lee said, according to the Global Times. He referred to several indicators, including unemployment rates, a decline in industrial production and the transportation of goods.
33 new economic measures
The conference call comes after a State Council executive meeting on Monday in which authorities unveiled 33 new economic measures, including increasing tax refunds, providing loans to small businesses and providing emergency loans to the hard-hit airline industry, according to the government-owned Xinhua News Agency. .
Many of the 33 policies also ease Covid restrictions – such as lifting restrictions on trucks traveling from low-risk areas.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Li urged government departments to implement those 33 measures by the end of May. He added that the State Council will send working teams to 12 provinces starting Thursday to oversee the implementation of these policies.
Throughout the epidemic, China has adhered to a strict anti-coronavirus policy, which aims to stamp out all chains of transmission using border controls, mandatory quarantines, mass testing, and sudden closures.
But that strategy has been challenged by the highly contagious variant Omicron, which spread across the country earlier this year even as authorities raced to shut down provinces and inter-provincial borders.
Although some of these cities have since reopened, the impact of the disruption is still being felt, with unemployment soaring to the highest level since the initial coronavirus outbreak in early 2020.
There is no clear end to the crisis in sight, as authorities still struggle to contain the spread of the virus and senior leaders insist on moving forward with stamping out Covid.
On Monday, the national capital Beijing – which has also seen a spike in cases over the past few weeks – saw seven districts under partial lockdown, affecting nearly 14 million residents. The city’s two largest districts, Chaoyang District and Haidian District, were included, shutting down all non-essential businesses including shopping malls, gyms and entertainment venues.
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