Fight against virus is on two fronts

Although China has generally contained the novel coronavirus outbreak within the country, the continuing detection of imported infections — 723 cases had been reported as of Monday — could have devastating consequences. Many medical experts, including the senior adviser to the director-general of the World Health Organization, Bruce Aylward, have warned of a possible second wave of infections in China because of the many loopholes in the line of defense against the highly contagious disease, for example, ports of entry had different monitoring and quarantine policies when dealing with visitors from abroad at the very beginning. This has undoubtedly led to new domestic infection cases caused by those who have arrived from abroad. China has now tried to plug the loopholes and tightened its prevention and control work at the border, including drastically cutting the number of inbound international flights and requiring all visitors to quarantine at designated places for 14 days. Laws have also been toughened to punish those who falsely report their health condition. But with the pandemic “still accelerating at an exponential rate” worldwide, as Aylward said, China faces intensified pressure to prevent the virus from being imported. The fact that the coronavirus can still be transmitted even if a person infected with it shows no symptoms makes such work even harder and calls for vigilance to be maintained. If the nation’s grip on the virus weakens because of imported cases, the sacrifices made by locking down Hubei province and bringing the rest of the country to a virtual standstill for two months will have been in vain. The lessons of history must be heeded. More people died in the second wave of the 1918 influenza pandemic. China has no room for error in the war that it is fighting on two fronts. That requires the whole country to not let up its anti-virus prevention and control efforts — it must test every suspected infection, find every single case, treat every patient, and isolate and quarantine all from abroad, so as to completely cut the transmission chain of the virus. Meanwhile, as the only country to have so far really turned the corner and brought the number of infections down, China stands ready to share its experience in epidemic prevention and control, and diagnosis and treatment, and provide further support and assistance to the best of its capability to other countries battling the virus. It is only when the virus is contained worldwide that victory will be secured. –CN