Free-flow circulation vital for healthy system
China Daily

Employees of postal services sort packages in Huainan, Anhui province. (Photo: Chen Bin/China Daily)

As the country is still fighting an uphill battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, with 2,753 locally transmitted cases reported on Tuesday, how to remove barriers that have impeded the free flow of logistics across the country has become a pressing problem that must be fixed.

This is because the excessive and even irrational restrictive measures local officials have taken to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus have threatened to disrupt the national supply chains and bring the flow of goods to a standstill.

In some places, highway exits and service stations have been shut down as officials scramble to implement the dynamic clearing policy, leaving tens of thousands of freight truck drivers stranded for days or even weeks on the highway, even though they have never been to any medium- or high-risk areas.

As a result, not only have delivery services been disrupted nationwide, but supplies including those essential for people's livelihoods in the locked down cities in pandemic-hit areas have also been greatly strained, adding to the woes of residents already struggling with the inconveniences of the strict restrictions on their movement.

In some localities, the appearance of the Omicron variant has spurred some unprepared local governments to act in a rushed way, instead of an efficient way, resulting in overstretching the tried and proved COVID-19 protocol to such an extent that it becomes difficult to balance local socioeconomic development and the virus control endeavors.

All this has prompted the central authorities to convene a teleconference early this week to emphasize the importance of smooth freight transport nationwide while unveiling a national unified pass system to ensure key supplies. The government will issue sufficient travel permits that are recognized across the country and make sure that nucleic acid test results within 48 hours can be used in different regions, according to the meeting.

Such measures are timely and important. But local officials must also look at the actuality of the situation. Starting from reality, they must take a scientific and people-centered approach when dealing with the pandemic situation.

The free flow of goods is also the basic requirement for building a unified domestic market as the country strives to establish a high-standard market system and promote high-quality development. And even when the latest resurgence of the virus is controlled, any impediments put in place by local officials restricting economic circulation must be removed to facilitate the smooth flow of products and resources on a larger scale.

Officials at all levels must work toward that end, rather than doing the opposite by erecting barriers on the basis of various excuses.