Expert: Tighten control over imported cases
BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) - China has passed the climax of the outbreak, with the number of new infections continuing to decline
Zhong Nanshan, a prominent expert in respiratory diseases, said that there still exists the possibility that the COVID-19 outbreak could end in June, but this hinges on all countries taking full and active measures to tackle it.
"If some countries do not pay full attention to the infectious nature and harm of the disease or intervene forcibly, (the outbreak) may be prolonged, Zhong, one of the leading specialists tackling the outbreak in China, said at a news conference on Thursday in Guangzhou, Guangdong province.
The virus should become less active in the high temperature in the summer, thus slowing the outbreak. However, should the outbreak extend any longer, it would have an enormous impact on the society and the economy of a country, he said, adding that the previous assessment was based more on the situation in China.
The relatively high mortality rate in some foreign countries indicates the strain on medical resources brought by the sudden increase in patients and the need for state-level attention in those countries.
Zhong called on all countries to follow the instructions of the World Health Organization, which declared COVID-19 a pandemic on Wednesday.
He said he was happy that countries like Italy and South Korea had taken significant measures, pointing to a marked drop in new cases in South Korea.
The outbreak in China, including the hardest-hit Hubei province, had been brought well under control with high-level measures for prevention and control, with temporary hospitals playing a role by separating patients and non-patients, Zhong said.
China has passed the climax of the outbreak, with the number of new infections continuing to decline, the National Health Commission said on Thursday.
Hubei had eight new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, all in its capital, Wuhan. Other parts of Hubei have reported no new infections for a week.
Elsewhere on the Chinese mainland, seven new cases were reported on Wednesday, including six cases imported from abroad.
The problem in China has now shifted to imported cases, Zhong said.
Some infected people did not show symptoms, such as fever, when entering China but later tested positive, Zhong said.
Since people coming from foreign countries may be required to be quarantined for 14 days, those who need to enter China quickly should take a virus test, which serves the interest of both themselves and the country, he said.
Zhong has held a number of online meetings with foreign medical professionals, and he said such exchanges between Chinese and foreign professionals and the public should be increased to reduce possible mistakes and the mortality rate in foreign countries.
Although it is impossible to develop effective medicines for treating the disease very soon, there are ways to prevent the situation from deteriorating.
Health workers and the public in foreign countries need to become more aware of the risks posed by COVID-19, he said.
On the cases of cured patients who have again tested positive for the virus, Zhong said they do not seem to be contagious, with no person having close contact with them being infected so far.
Zou Shuo in Beijing contributed to this story.