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Global Times

Second COVID-19 wave in China 'inevitable': top experts

Global Times

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/21 17:09:57

A second wave of COVID-19 outbreak in China is "inevitable," said Zhang Wenhong, China's leading infectious disease specialist and head of the Shanghai COVID-19 medical team, despite that the Chinese mainland has reported zero new domestic COVID-19 cases since August 16.

"We should make plans for at least another year," Zhang said.

At a forum hosted by Antai College of Shanghai Jiao Tong University on Sunday, Zhang analyzed the situation and challenges China faces regarding epidemic prevention. As second waves of COVID-19 have emerged in a few European countries, Zhang noted that China will also witness an "inevitable" resurgence of the virus, which is expected to happen in the coming winter.

Currently, China is at risk of importing the epidemic. "In the past few days, inspection teams from Beijing have visited each province to inspect the local COVID-19 prevention system, so as to prevent scattered imported cases from spreading widely," Zhang said.

According to Zhang, the "non-fatality" of COVID-19 is what makes it "fatal" to global prevention. "The coronavirus is highly contagious, but its fatality rate is relatively low, unlike Ebola, SARS, or the H1N9 avian flu." In Zhang's opinion, the low fatality rate has led to the continued spread of the virus around the world.

Zhang expected that the pandemic will continue for quite a long time. "A less contagious virus will always be around. Western countries are waiting for a vaccine, which will protect vulnerable people and bring the death rate down to routine flu levels."

"However, a mass vaccine rollout is difficult to achieve in one year," Zhang said. "We should make epidemic prevention plans for at least a year."

Earlier this month, other top Chinese disease experts echoed the view that the pandemic is very likely to continue to spread in the coming months.

On Friday, renowned Chinese respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan stressed at a Beijing-based forum through streaming that if another domestic outbreak emerged, China will continue to implement joint prevention and control measures at the community level and wide-ranging nucleic acid screening, while tracing close contacts and isolating asymptomatic patients.

Top vaccine researcher Chen Wei emphasized at the forum the importance of valid vaccines for possible herd immunity. China is about to launch a larger clinical trial of a vaccine for people over 55 years old, according to Chen.

The Chinese mainland has reported zero new domestic COVID-19 cases since August 16.



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