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About the New Round of Small Outbreak of the Coronavirus in China
Views:167 Updated:2021-01-22

The low temperature in the winter season has recently brought a new round of small-scale outbreak of the coronavirus in China. It is generally believed that the lower temperature created more favourable conditions for the virus to survive and spread. The northern part of China has so far been affected a bit more seriously by the coronavirus than the southern part of it. Over the past few weeks, a number of newly confirmed cases have subsequently been reported out in Beijing, Hebei, Jilin, and Helongjiang etc. Till 22 January, the number of remaining cases in Beijing, Hebei, Jilin and Heilongjiang has respectively raised to 43, 820, 131, and 192.1


Given that China has already accumulated rich experiences in fighting the COVID-19 over the past year of 2020, various levels of government departments, of communities, and of other sectors have generally responded very timely to address this small outbreak. A series of similar measures have been put into place, roughly including early testing, tracing, quarantining, and rescuing, as well as controlling the movement of people and limiting public transportation etc. Certain places with low risk of being contaminated by the virus or of spreading it have also followed the similar strict measures.


According to the information released by China’s National Health Commission, the new round of small outbreak of the coronavirus in some parts of China has no connection to the locally confirmed cases affected by the previous round of large-scale outbreak. The few initially confirmed cases during this new round of outbreak are connected to either the imported COVID-19 cases from overseas or the imported cold-chain products. Further observation regarding this is still under way.


The Health Commission further revealed that the newly confirmed cases were partly caused by the lack of proper management to the individuals who landed in China from abroad. They also had connection to the workers who had close contact with the cold-chain products. For instance, relevant staff didn’t pay enough caution to the imported products in the process of handling them.


One of the phenomena in relation to this new round of small outbreak is that some cases were initially found in the rural areas. Compared to the cities, the rural areas or the locations, where the cities and the villages meet across, are usually shortage of proper prevention and control facilities in dealing with the virus. Therefore, such shortcoming in these areas would naturally raise the risk of affection and spread of the disease.


Anyway, along with the new round of small outbreak, China has decided to further strengthen inspections of cold-chain products. China’s General Administration of Customs on 14 January reported that, by 13 January, the samples out of 1.3 million frozen products had been inspected, with 47 of which tested positive. It also revealed that China has suspended imports of cold-chain food products from 124 overseas manufacturing corporations across 21 countries.2


From the above observations by the National Health Commission and the General Administration of Customs, we can say that more attention and caution still need to be made to the management and control of the imported cases and imported products.


The pandemic situation in a large number of countries across the world is still very serious. As far as the situation abroad cannot be improved dramatically, china would continue to face the pressure of being affected.


The good news is that the invention of a few type of vaccines has brought a big hope to the world. China promised that the Chinese vaccines will serve as global public goods to be distributed to a large number of countries with affordable price. China will also donate some vaccines to certain regions of the developing countries. Some countries have already used the Chinese vaccines.


Apart from accommodating the needs of other countries, China is also in need to take into account its domestic demands and distribution of the vaccines, as China appears to have been facing a bit of rising pressure as well in dealing with the virus since around the beginning of January this year. Therefore, in the coming months, in addition to keeping the conventional prevention and control measures in place, speeding up the process of production and of vaccination needs to take into consideration.


According to the media release, the initial arrangement about the vaccination process is that the first round of vaccination would mainly focus on the group of people who work in the special industries and face higher risks of being contracted to the virus. There are also relevant arrangements about the second and third rounds of vaccination. Overall, the mass vaccination will be conducted after the Chinese lunar new year.


In accordance with the evolving pandemic situation inside China, relevant sectors may have to think about whether there is a necessity to adjust the distribution process of the vaccines – for example, whether it is possible to arrange the people living in the large rural areas to receive vaccination earlier than initially scheduled time, as for the time being, the rural areas appear to be most vulnerable in facing and addressing the virus.


Notes:

1. https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/special_coverage/2020latestdata

2.https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202101/14/WS60000d56a31024ad0baa2ade.html

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