A Chinese central government task force said officials and businesses must change the way they think about strategies for the future and factor into their policies and decisions that the coronavirus pandemic would be a long haul. The assessment came as recent Covid-19 outbreaks continued in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in the west of China and Liaoning province in the northeast, and there has been a resurgence in outbreaks in many parts of the northern hemisphere over the summer. The State Council’s joint prevention and control liaison group for Hubei, the province where the first cases were detected in Wuhan, said officials should change their assumptions and strategies in economic and social developments, given the “profound and long-lasting impact” of the pandemic. “From now on, we will be under the constant shadow of the epidemic. Like on rainy days, we have to spare one hand holding the umbrella and continue working using the other hand,” the liaison group said in an article published on Monday in People’s Daily , the Communist Party mouthpiece. “Whether it is for the state in making economic and social development strategic plans and mapping out industrial policies, or for businesses making production and manpower decisions, they need to take into consideration disease prevention and control as a key factor,” the article read. Red flag raised about ‘negative consequences’ of China’s virus stimulus The task force said officials should avoid resorting to short-term measures if they came at the expense of long-term development. “We have to adapt to the new situation that the epidemic will be here to stay for a long time … we cannot not afford to turn a blind eye to this and launch [economic] projects indiscriminately for short-term benefits,” it said. In illustrating how the pandemic had hit Wuhan structurally, the task force said 45 per cent of semiconductor factories reported having a shortage of equipment, parts and raw materials and had to make changes to their supply chains, tapping into manufacturing clusters close to them. The city of Wuhan reopened on April 8 after going into a total lockdown in late January. Other hi-tech industries in Hubei province also reported supply disruptions, the task force said, caused by the shutdown of overseas suppliers, cuts to international freight services and difficulty hiring outside talent, as well as interruption to research and development, because of the pandemic. “With the epidemic lingering, scattered production chains will see accelerated restructuring and a trend of a concentration [of producers] in low-risk areas,” the task force said. The task force gave a conservative assessment about the near-term prospects of the epidemic, citing experts’ advice that scattered cases and local outbreaks would become routine. And there would be huge uncertainties about the “long road” before immunisation could be attained through vaccination. “Even when immunisation is achieved, some experts predict the novel coronavirus could evolve into a seasonal epidemic-like flu,” it added, warning that there would be continuing risks of a resurgence in domestic cases and imported Covid-19 infections. Over the weekend, Beijing sent top officials to check out local outbreaks in Xinjiang and Liaoning. The Chinese government also held meetings with Hong Kong health officials over the city’s current outbreak and coordinated prevention and control measures across the border in Guangdong. Sun Chunlan, a vice-premier and the top central government official on the ground overseeing disease control in Hubei during its most difficult days, visited Xinjiang for three days until Saturday. The region has had double-digit daily growth of Covid-19 cases since Wednesday after the current outbreak emerged in its capital Urumqi in mid-July. Xinhua said Sun inspected hospitals, quarantine centres and disease control departments, and called on local officials to quickly boost the capacity and quality of swab tests locally. The Urumqi health authority on Sunday said most of the city’s 3.5 million residents had received swab tests and a second round of tests would be launched in key districts. Sun noted that in the Xinjiang outbreak, the proportion of asymptomatic coronavirus patients was higher than seen previously and those who had become ill were generally younger. By Sunday, there were 178 confirmed cases in local hospitals. Some 170 people had contracted the virus without showing symptoms and were under observation in quarantine facilities. Meanwhile, health minister Ma Xiaowei arrived in Dalian, a coastal city in Liaoning province, on Friday night to oversee local disease control measures. A cluster linked to a seafood processing company in the city has infected at least 38 patients since Wednesday, spreading to two other northeastern provinces, Jilin and Heilongjiang, as well as to southeastern Fujian province. The city government is arranging swab tests of all of its residents.