The time has come for Beijing to adjust its unwavering zero-Covid policy that has resulted in a serious disruption of economic activities, an influential foreign business association said in a letter to Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua. The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China sent the letter, dated Friday, amid a growing outcry over disruptions to daily lives and business resulting from measures such as mass testing and large-scale lockdowns. While acknowledging that Beijing’s zero-Covid policy offered China protection from the Delta variant and fuelled a quick economic recovery in 2020, the chamber also implored leadership to take a different course of action to combat Omicron. “The Omicron variant is posing new challenges that seemingly cannot be overcome by applying the old toolbox of mass testing and isolation, and the social and economic costs of applying increasingly stringent measures to achieve this are rapidly mounting,” chamber president Joerg Wuttke said in the letter obtained by the South China Morning Post . “This is also having an unfortunate impact on China’s image to the rest of the world, while eroding foreign investors’ confidence in the Chinese market.” The European Chamber understands that … the decision to pursue a zero-tolerance strategy was not taken lightly Joerg Wuttke, EU Chamber of Commerce in China The chamber raised three proposals to revise the current pandemic-control measures, “to bring them in line with the successful model that has been adopted in Singapore, which has allowed the country to simultaneously prioritise protection for all its citizens and economic growth”. The chamber called for China to employ “the best mix” of vaccinations and boosters , as “mRNA vaccines have proved most effective around the world, and should be made accessible to Chinese patients to be used as a booster”. It suggested allowing positive cases with no or mild symptoms to quarantine at home, to alleviate pressure on the health system, and also called for stepping up efforts to fully vaccinate the population, including those over 60 years old who are among the most vulnerable. “The European Chamber understands that the protection of health and safety is of paramount importance, and that the decision to pursue a zero-tolerance strategy was not taken lightly,” Wuttke added. ‘Final nail in the coffin’: forceful lockdowns weigh on EU firms in China He cited the results of a flash survey by the German Chamber of Commerce in China last month as proof that the measures being taken to contain Omicron’s spread are “causing significant disruptions, extending from logistics and production all the way along the entire supply chain within China”. And with Omicron having an outsized impact China’s manufacturing, hi-tech and financial centres, the EU chamber also said last week that the zero-Covid approach has made its members’ daily operations “ unplanned and unpredictable ”, while calling for better communication and stronger vaccination efforts. While reaffirming its commitment to the Chinese market, the EU chamber also warned that the uncertainties in business operations would lead to the loss of expatriates and tarnish the country’s appeal to foreign talents. China is battling its worst wave of infections in more than two years, resulting in lockdowns in Shanghai, the epicentre of the current wave . Beijing has insisted on the zero-Covid policy to achieve a dynamic clearing of Covid-19 at any cost, while many other countries have chosen to live with the virus and regard Omicron as less severe than prior variants. With much of Shanghai under lockdown for more than a week, the strict measures have resulted in a swell of public discontent and complaints from business communities. Economists have also raised concerns that the nation’s zero-Covid approach dragged down economic growth in the year’s first quarter, and could affect full-year growth . The EU chamber told the Post on Monday that its letter from last week “outlines the challenges that companies are facing due to Covid-19 containment measures that have recently been implemented across China”. “The European Chamber is keeping in touch with the relevant authorities and is looking forward to following up on the contents of the letter at the earliest opportunity,” it added. The US State Department on Friday warned against travel to Shanghai, Jilin and Hong Kong , citing risks of “arbitrary” law enforcement and family separation amid strict Covid-19 controls.