Virus situation calls for watchfulness: China Daily editorial
With the Lunar New Year holiday only a few weeks away, sporadic COVID-19 cases have resurfaced in several places, including Beijing and Liaoning province's Shenyang and Dalian, sounding the alarm for stricter epidemic control measures to prevent a resurgence of infections nationwide.
With a new, more easily transmissible strain of the novel coronavirus appearing in a number of countries, it is crucial that there is no slackening of prevention and control efforts, especially as China is bracing for a projected 407 million passenger trips during the 2021 Spring Festival travel rush which runs from Jan 28 to March 8.
In places where new infections have been detected, local governments have activated emergency response measures and are conducting source and contact tracing and mass testing, tightening management of people flows and carrying out environmental disinfection.
In Beijing, the authorities have completed nucleic acid testing of the 1.2 million residents in Shunyi district where a cluster of new cases has emerged in the past few days. To fend off risks of contamination in the cold chain, Xicheng district has mandated regular testing of all employees involved in the cold chain, catering and food industries.
The Beijing municipal government has also made arrangements for schools and kindergartens to take longer winter vacations as well as suspended the staging of temple fairs or large-scale cultural activities for the upcoming New Year and Spring Festival holidays.
Beijing residents are also advised to restrict outbound trips during the holidays.
Measures like these are conducive to both containing the current outbreaks in the capital and keeping the risks of community transmission at bay. But they need the full support and cooperation from all walks of life, as experience has shown us it takes an all-out war to contain the virus.
Although leading Chinese epidemiologists believe there is a low risk of a new nationwide wave of infections, the severe situation in many parts of the world, daily increase of imported cases, the ongoing sporadic local cases coupled with a cold winter and the upcoming traveling season all dictate the country cannot let its guard down.