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Heighten vigilance against imported cases: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2021-05-11 20:13
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Staff members disinfect the Hubuxiang, a noted snack street, in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province, April 11, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

The worsening pandemic situation in India — with its daily COVID-19 infections around 400,000 over the past week — as well as in some of its neighboring countries such as Nepal which also saw a fast increase in cases, has raised the alarm for China to exercise the utmost vigilance against possible imported cases.

Making the task especially challenging is the fact that the variant blamed for the massive resurgence of the novel coronavirus in India is highly transmissible. Any letup in vigilance against this invisible enemy of humanity may have devastating consequences. This is a bitter lesson many countries have already learned since the virus first struck.

China has so far done an excellent job in its prevention and control work, with zero local infections reported for more than a month. The past May Day holiday, which saw around 230 million trips recorded nationwide, has further proved that efforts to keep COVID-19 at bay — including the wearing of face masks, social distancing and capacity controls at tourist or cultural sites — have been effective.

The "separation line" atop Mount Qomolangma that China announced on Monday, to prevent the coronavirus from being spread by climbers ascending Nepal's side of the mountain, is an indication of the wariness of health officials and their preparedness to update the prevention measures to deal with any new situation that emerges.

Yet what China has achieved should by no means provide reason for complacency, given the extremely complex pandemic situation and that many of the countries now struggling to control the virus are China's neighbors.

No final victory will be achieved until all countries have gained the upper hand over the virus.

China knows that in the face of the pandemic no country is an island, and helping other countries to overcome their difficulties is also helping itself. It is doing all it can to help India fight the virus, by offering medical supplies in a timely manner, and it is providing assistance for many other countries by making its vaccines a public good.

The most effective weapons against the virus are the various vaccines that have been developed. Fortunately, as Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead on COVID-19, has said, there is nothing to suggest that the vaccines that have been developed are not effective against the new variants.

Which is why China is racing against time to vaccinate at least 70 percent of its 1.4 billion population in order to achieve herd immunity. So far more than 300 million Chinese have received at least their first jabs, and with a rising sense of urgency the country is pushing ahead with the national vaccination program so as to better position itself to meet any new emergencies.

At the same time, upholding its vision of building a global community of health for all, China will continue its efforts to make its COVID-19 vaccines a public good and provide whatever help it can to countries in need.

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