Mr. Xi spoke at a television ceremony honoring doctors, nurses, local officials, and others who Party officials said were outstanding contributions to fighting the virus, which first spread to central China late last year. He said the crisis sparked a patriotic boom that strengthened the party.
"The great strategic results that have been achieved in the fight against the new coronavirus have fully demonstrated the clear superiority of the leadership of the Communist Party and our socialist system," Xi said to the rows of award winners in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Mr. Xi's triumphant report would likely have sparked much greater skepticism in China earlier this year when many people were angry about officials who underestimated the spread of infections in Wuhan, where the epidemic began. But the public mood changed when China emerged from the crisis much more smoothly than the United States and other advanced economies.
At the start of the meeting on Tuesday, the thousands in the hall watched for a moment of silence to mourn the thousands who had died from the virus in China, including many medical workers. But online the Chinese lamented the lack of mention of Li Wenliang, the Wuhan doctor who was punished by the police for alerting his colleagues to the then poorly understood virus and later dying of Covid-19.
"DR. Li, I thought your name should have been at the awards ceremony," said one of many similar comments on Dr. Li's page about Sina Weibo, a popular Chinese social media platform.
China is now trying to draw attention to the economic recovery, and the government has selected an unusual group of volunteers to test a coronavirus vaccine: its trade negotiators, who are more likely than most Chinese to interact with potentially infected foreigners.
Chen Deming, a former trade minister who is still on trade affairs, was maskless when speaking at an economic policy conference in Beijing on Tuesday. He laughed and applauded as he said, "The host doesn't have to wear a mask as I've already received the Phase 3 study vaccine."