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Chinese premier holds emergency meeting with 100,000 officials

Li Keqiang chaired an online meeting with more than 100,000 government officials at all levels on May 25 to urge localities to prevent the loss of growth momentum.

The world’s second-largest economy has been negatively impacted in various industries since the COVID-19 outbreak broke out in March. Lockdown measures were imposed in many major cities, most notably the financial hub Shanghai, where many residents were unable to leave their homes or residential areas for a month and a half.

Mr. Lee said that in some respects, the economic impact of the past March and April has surpassed that of 2020, when the pandemic first broke out, Global Times news. He cited many indicators, such as unemployment, low industrial production and falling freight.

Prime minister China highlighted the economic slowdown in recent weeks, saying the situation in early May was “complex and severe”.

Investment banks have lowered their forecasts for China’s economic growth this year. Earlier this week, UBS lowered its full-year GDP forecast to 3% because of risks from COVID-19 policy. China is expected to grow at around 5% this year, after reaching 8.1% last year and 2.3% in 2020.

33 new economic measures

The video conference took place after a meeting of the State Council of China on May 23 outlined 33 new economic measures, including a policy to increase tax refunds, expand loans for small businesses, provide emergency loans to the severely affected aviation industry, Xinhua news.

Many of the 33 new policies are intended to ease COVID-19 controls, such as lifting restrictions on trucks coming from low-risk areas.

In a meeting on May 25, Premier Li Keqiang urged ministries and sectors to implement 33 new measures from the end of May. The State Council will send a task force to 12 provinces, starting from May 26. , to monitor the implementation of the new policy, the bulletin of Xinhua said.

Throughout the pandemic period, China has always maintained a zero COVID policy to eliminate all chains of infection, with measures such as border control, mandatory isolation, widespread testing and blockade.

However, this strategy is facing many challenges with the Omicron mutation, when the virus is still spreading quickly despite the authorities racing to blockade and stop travel between provinces.

As of mid-May, more than 30 cities were under complete or partial lockdown, affecting about 220 million people across the country, according to estimates by the United Nations. CNN. Industries were hit hard as both the supply and demand for goods fell.

While some cities have reopened, the impact of the disruption remains. The unemployment rate spiked to its highest level since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020.

Many companies were forced to shut down, including carmakers Tesla and Volkswagen. Airbnb is the latest multinational to exit the market.

Earlier this week, the capital Beijing still had seven districts under partial lockdown, affecting nearly 14 million people. The two largest districts, Chaoyang and Haidian, remain closed to non-essential businesses, such as malls, gyms and entertainment venues.

According to CNN, Xinhua

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