China’s leading coronavirus expert claims it’s ‘nearly impossible’ for the country to have another COVID-19 outbreak due to its strong testing abilities
- Dr Zhang Wenhong ruled out the possibility of a new COVID-19 outbreak in China
- He claimed it was ‘nearly impossible’ due to China’s improved testing abilities
- But the expert warned sporadic infections could continue to emerge during 2021
- Comes as China is grappled with local virus clusters in cities including Beijing
Dr Zhang Wenhong, who led the fight against the virus in Shanghai, said in a Monday conference that it was ‘nearly impossible’ for a large-scale spread of the coronavirus to emerge in China again during the upcoming Chinese New Year in February.
His statements come as COVID-19 cases have been rising in the Chinese capital Beijing and northern China in recent days after the country appeared to have largely contained the contagion.
A prominent Chinese coronavirus expert has ruled out the possibility of another COVID-19 outbreak hitting China, claiming it was because of the country’s strong testing abilities. In this photo, residents in Beijing are seen wearing face masks as they walk along a street today
Dr Zhang Wenhong (pictured), who led the fight against the virus in Shanghai, said it was ‘nearly impossible’ for a large-scale spread of the coronavirus to emerge in China again
As of Wednesday, China has reported a total of 87,027 confirmed coronavirus infections, among which 356 are active. The death toll remains at 4,634.
Since December 18, the city of Beijing has detected 15 local transmissions, prompting the authorities to seal off parts of its north-eastern Shunyi district on Tuesday, the first lockdown in the city since the last coronavirus outbreak in June and July.
The recent coronavirus flare-ups have rekindled concerns while the officials urged citizens to avoid non-essential travel during the festive season between January 1 and the start of Lunar New Year in mid-February.
But Dr Zhang has reassured the public in a Monday interview that it was ‘nearly impossible’ for another large-scale outbreak to emerge in the country due to China’s strengthened testing abilities.
Since December 18, the city of Beijing has detected 15 local transmissions, prompting the authorities to seal off parts of its north-eastern Shunyi district on Tuesday. Residents are pictured lining up for coronavirus tests at tents set up on the streets of Beijing on Sunday
A total of 40 confirmed cases have been found in north-eastern China’s Liaoning Province this month. Pictured, health workers test residents in Dalian, Liaoning Province, on December 23
‘Now we have more anti-virus methods and our testing techniques are more sensitive,’ the leading doctor said in a virtual conference held by the prestigious Fudan University in Shanghai.
‘Large-scale testing abilities have also been strengthened,’ he added. ‘Therefore, realistically speaking, for this Chinese New Year, a large-scale spread [of the virus] is nearly impossible.’
But Dr Zhang warned that sporadic infections could continue to appear across the country throughout the most of next year.
‘Based on the current situation, the sporadic cases could last till the second half of next year,’ the expert said.
China has resorted to its heavy, top-down approach each time new cases of local transmission are found. Pictured, people wait in a queue to be tested for COVID-19 in Beijing on Tuesday
China has resorted to its heavy, top-down approach each time new cases of local transmission are found – shutting down schools and hospitals, locking down residential communities and entire neighbourhoods, and testing millions.
The Chinese capital has launched mass testing since December 23 to screen every resident of the Shunyi district, where the new cluster was found.
A total of 1.32million people have been tested and 1.3million results have come back negative, the officials reportedly said today.
In October, the city of Qingdao in eastern China tested nearly all of its 11million residents within four days to quash an outbreak of 13.