China’s Leaders Declare Victory Over Covid as Deaths Drop

China’s top leaders said Thursday that the country has achieved “decisive victory” over Covid as its death toll drops sharply.

(Bloomberg) — China’s top leaders said Thursday that the country has achieved “decisive victory” over Covid as its death toll drops sharply. 

A meeting of the Politburo Standing Committee said the Communist Party’s judgment, policies and adjustment of Covid controls since November have been “totally right,” according to China’s state television. The public would agree with the conclusion, the report said.

READ: China’s World-Beating Drop in Covid Deaths Revives Data Concerns

China’s Covid situation is improving while the global pandemic remains, according to the report. The Politburo Standing Committee also urged officials to strengthen monitoring of domestic outbreaks and accelerate vaccination among the elderly. 

After meticulously tracking cases for most of the pandemic, China abruptly abandoned its signature zero-tolerance policy at the end of 2022, halting mass testing, quarantines and lockdowns, and narrowing its definition of what constitutes a Covid death. 

“This is the party’s way to do damage control for the sudden and ill-prepared U-turn on the zero-Covid policy, by declaring total victory and denying any fault,” said Andy Chen, a senior analyst with Beijing-based consultancy Trivium China. 

By publicly patting themselves on the back, Chen said the leadership is signaling that it is confident the most politically risky period following its abrupt reversal on the Covid zero policy has passed and that it has suffered minimal damage in public trust. 

This isn’t the first time China has declared victory over the virus. The country also announced it had beaten the infection back in 2020.

As China’s mortality rate falls at the fastest pace of all the places globally that saw massive omicron waves last year, questions have been rising about its virus data and the true impact of the reopening wave.    

The World Health Organization also called for more cooperation from China as it continues its search for the origins of Covid-19. 

–With assistance from James Mayger.

(Updates with analyst comment in fifth paragraph)

More stories like this are available on

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.