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China’s zero-Covid success makes it only major economy to have grown in 2020

CHINA’S economy grew 6.5 per cent in the three months ending in December, making it the only major economy to have grown over 2020 as a whole.

Because of the decline in output earlier last year as it imposed a strict lockdown, its 2020 growth rate averages at 2.3 per cent, the lowest rate in decades.

But with all other big economies contracting, analysts said China was closing the gap with the United States, with total economic activity calculated at 102 trillion yuan ($15.6tn or £11.5tn), about 75 per cent the size of the US economy.

The rapid recovery highlights the success of China’s “zero-Covid” strategy, which combined swift and strict lockdowns with rapid roll-out of testing, contact-tracing and isolating cases, driving the virus down to very low levels and allowing controls to be largely lifted over the course of the year.

But new partial lockdowns have now been announced in cities including Beijing in response to a slight rise in cases, leading the government to advise people not to travel to see family over Chinese New Year, which in typical years sees hundreds of millions of long-distance journeys for family gatherings.

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