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Global Times

Epidemic situation remains grim and complex in Dandong with more sporadic COVID-19 cases expected

Global Times

By Global Times Published: Jun 26, 2022 03:25 PM

With sporadic cases from unknown sources reported in Dandong, Northeast China's Liaoning Province, experts noted the epidemic prevention and control situation in the city bordering North Korea remains grim and complex as the risk of a large-scale rebound of epidemic still exists.

As China's biggest border city with a population of 2.3 million as of 2020, Dandong reported seven new local asymptomatic infections on Saturday, bringing the tally of positive cases to 264 since May 24.

The city's epidemic prevention and control headquarters refuted a rumor on Saturday that Dandong would be locked down from Sunday.

Starting from Friday, residents living in COVID-19 risk-free regions in Dandong have been allowed to move around freely within the city so long as they show a negative nucleic acid testing result within 48 hours, said the local authorities during a press briefing on Friday.

However, given that the Omicron sub-variant BA.2.3 is more latent and has stronger variability and transmission capability than previous variants, sporadic cases will continue to be reported for a longer period of time, said Liu Jinde, a medical expert from the city's epidemic prevention and control headquarters and director of infectious disease department of Dandong Central Hospital.

The risk of a large-scale rebound of epidemic still exists since most of the sporadic cases are spreading from unknown sources, making the epidemic prevention situation grim and complex, explained Liu Yang, another expert from the city's epidemic prevention and control headquarters and deputy director of Dandong Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dandong has been hit by several waves of the epidemic during the past two months, which has caused a serious impact on local economic and social development as well as daily production and life, said Hao Jianjun, mayor of Dandong, at the press briefing on Friday.

Compared with the flare-up started on April 24, the proportion of asymptomatic infections is relatively smaller in the May 24 one, however the cases displaying clinical symptoms, including fever, cough, dyspnea and pneumonia, have increased, according to Liu Jinde. The expert added that higher viral loads are shown in the nucleic acid testing of the patients, who have to be hospitalized for longer periods of time to recover than patients infected with previous variants.

Since personnel flow is on the rise as normal production and life order are gradually resuming in the city, experts suggested local residents to reduce unnecessary outings, avoid gatherings and to keep social distance as well as take other epidemic prevention measures such as wearing masks, which still serves as an important preventive method.

At present, residents in the preventive area are asked to take two nucleic acid tests every week and residents in downtown areas have to take nucleic acid testing every the other day. People and residents in lockdown and control zones have to take testing once every day.

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