Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday called for measures to “effectively protect people’s lives” as his country faces an outbreak of Covid-19 infections, state television reported.

This is the Beijing strongman’s first public comment since the sudden abandonment in early December of strict anti-Covid measures, in force since 2020.

Three years after the appearance of the very first cases of coronavirus in Wuhan (center), the country is facing an explosion of cases.

Many hospitals are overwhelmed, pharmacies report shortages of fever medication, while many crematoriums interviewed by AFP reported an unusually high influx of bodies to be cremated.

“The prevention and control of Covid-19 in China is facing a new situation and new tasks,” said Xi Jinping quoted by state television CCTV.

“We must carry out a more targeted patriotic health campaign (…) and build a solid bulwark against the epidemic,” added Xi Jinping, without further details.

China has only officially announced six Covid deaths since restrictions were lifted.

A largely undervalued assessment according to many experts, while a large part of the elderly in China are not vaccinated against Covid.