China’s President Xi Jinping reportedly told staffers to curb their efforts on the coronavirus response or the country’s economy would suffer.
Reuters reports that Xi told officials during a Feb 3rd Politburo meeting that their response had already harmed the economy, according to Reuters sources. Two insiders who wished to remain anonymous said Xi told them to “refrain from more restrictive measures” when addressing the outbreak.
That’s in reference to the large-scale closing down of buildings, businesses and other enterprises – both in the public and private sectors. The closing down of factories, railways, roads and schools appears to have already shaken the nation’s economic health.
The coronavirus death toll recently reached 1,000, while confirmed cases now exceed 40,000. A noted Chinese virologist recently suggested the outbreak would peak in February. Other predictions suggested the worst of the virus won’t be seen until May.
But the vice-governor China’s central bank believes the economy must come first. Pang Gongsheng said on Friday:
“In the context of the epidemic and the downward pressure on the economy, it is more important to maintain economic growth.”
Now China’s bureaucrats must balance their economic duties with their humane responsibilities. The pressure is on them in the form of free-speech protests by China’s populace, particularly among its younger generations.
China’s Zhejiang province recently told its local authorities to refrain from restricting access to basic necessities, such as meat, vegetables and dairy.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.