TOKYO (Reuters) – China should take steps to soften the economic impact of COVID-19 and boost annual economic growth back above 5%, a top central bank official said on Sunday.

Wang Yiming, a member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the People’s Bank of China, told an economic forum the effective management of macroeconomic policies was critical in laying the foundation for the country to achieve the national growth target of around 5.5%.

Gross domestic product rose 4.8% in the first quarter from the same period last year.

Beijing should “actively and effectively” expand domestic demand, stabilise the country’s industrial supply chains and manage market expectations, Wang said.

His comments come as Shanghai – China’s most populous city and most important economic hub – battles the country’s biggest COVID outbreak.

Shanghai’s lockdown, which for many residents has lasted over three weeks, has fuelled frustration over access to food and medical care, lost wages, family separation and quarantine conditions.

This has also dragged on the world’s second-largest economy, with factory production disrupted by snarled supply chains and difficulties faced by locked-down residents returning to work.

(Reporting By Norihiko Shirouzu and Ryan Woo in Beijing; Editing by William Mallard)