This comes amid a surge in Covid infections in Beijing, after having seen the government relax its pandemic measures as they put an end to their previous zero-Covid policy. The meeting is one where officials tend to discuss their objectives for next year and is one that is usually attended by president Xi.

Despite re-opening optimism, the massive wave of infections sweeping across the country may yet prove to be a short-term hiccup for China based on how things are progressing over the past few days.