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Expert: China capable of dealing with new variant

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai | | Updated: 2021-11-28 16:40
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A healthcare worker conducts a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test on a traveler at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on November 27, 2021, after several countries banned flights from South Africa following the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant Omicron. A flurry of countries around the world have banned flights from southern Africa following the discovery of the variant, including the United States, Canada, Australia,Thailand, Brazil and several European countries. [Photo/Agencies]

The new COVID-19 variant Omicron, which the World Health Organization has termed a "variant of concern" and is more transmissible than the dominant Delta strain, will not have a major influence on China at the current phase, Zhang Wenhong, a Shanghai doctor widely known for his pandemic fight, wrote on his Sina Weibo on Sunday.

"China's current strategies of rapid response and dynamically zeroing cases will be able to cope with various types of variants of the novel coronavirus," wrote Zhang, leader of the Shanghai team of experts in the clinical treatment of novel coronavirus pneumonia cases.

"China is currently accelerating building up scientific support, including reserves of effective vaccines and drugs as well as public health and medical resource that can support China's large-scale opening to the world and empower the country to deal with normalized pandemic fight in the next stage," he wrote.

With science and solidarity, the country will cope with the Omicron variant properly just as how it has done with Delta, said Zhang, who is also director of the infectious diseases department at Huashan Hospital Affiliated with Fudan University.

Zhang wrote that it will take the world around two weeks to see whether the new variant will pose threat to the vulnerable immunity of population that has taken shape in some societies initially.

He also explained why some countries, such as the United Kingdom and Israel, have tightened up pandemic prevention restrictions on inbound travelers.

"Over 80 percent of the citizens in those two countries have been fully vaccinated. If the new variant is able to break through the immune barriers there, the world may have to change its COVID-19 vaccination mechanism – adjusting it to something like the influenza vaccination, which requires researchers to device a new vaccine according to the virus' mutation each year," he wrote.

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