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IMF chief praises China’s ‘decisive’ move away from zero-Covid

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The managing director of the International Monetary Fund praised China’s “decisive” move away from its hardline zero-Covid policy at a press briefing with the heads of other major economic institutions on Friday.

Beijing on Wednesday announced a loosening of its zero-tolerance approach to coronavirus outbreaks, ending large-scale lockdowns and allowing some positive cases to isolate at home following widespread protests against the restrictions.

“We welcome very much the decisive actions taken by the Chinese authorities… to recalibrate the Covid policies so as to create a better impetus for the revival of growth in China,” Kristalina Georgieva said after a conference in the eastern city of Huangshan hosted by outgoing Premier Li Keqiang.

The effort to boost vaccination rates and anti-viral treatments “is very good for the Chinese people, but also important for Asia and the rest of the world”, Georgieva added.

“China’s performance matters (not just) to China — it matters to the world economy as well.”

The global economy has been rocked this year as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has added to a stuttering post-pandemic recovery and a cost-of-living crisis in many countries.

The retreat from zero-Covid “will help remove one set of uncertainties” in a world reeling from the impacts of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and climate change, said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organization, at the same briefing.

Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Mathias Cormann said the “adjustments will support the strength of the recovery both in China and globally”.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French state-owned international news agency based in Paris. It is the world's oldest news agency, having been founded in 1835 as Havas.

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