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Plug loopholes in fight against COVID-19: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2021-05-17 19:38
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A medical worker collects a swab sample from a resident for nucleic acid testing at a community in Shangpai township of Feixi county, East China' Anhui province, May 16, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The latest round of coronavirus outbreaks in Liaoning and Anhui provinces has not only raised the alarm over the daunting tasks the country still faces in the fight against COVID-19, it has also exposed many loopholes in the prevention and control work that must be plugged before they undo all the country's hard-won achievements.

Investigations suggest that the person from Anhui confirmed to have the virus last week visited a clinic in Yingkou, Liaoning, complaining of a fever 10 days previously. Yet the clinic did not report the case to the local public health authorities as required.

As a result, the patient was not properly treated or isolated, and infected many more people including the clinic doctor. Many medical institutions in Lu'an, Anhui, have been found to have flouted the reporting rules concerning patients with fever. Those found responsible have been punished.

China has accumulated a lot of experience in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and its approach of early detection, early reporting, early quarantine and early treatment has proved effective in basically containing the spread of the virus. The past May Day holiday has testified to the efficacy of the prevention and control measures.

But complacency and violation of the established norms could ruin all the achievements overnight. In hindsight, if local institutions in Yingkou and Lu'an had followed the rules by reporting the many fever cases there at an early date, the pandemic situation in these two places could have been eased earlier thanks to early interventions. There are many lessons to learn from the lack of supervision over small medical institutions and the failure to nip the spread of the virus in the bud.

To make up for the lapse in their prevention and control work, cities affected by the latest round of outbreaks have all quickened their pace in vaccinating their residents so as to build an immunity firewall against the disease.

People there are also more willing to take the jabs as they are now fully aware of the hazards that are lurking around them, for you never know which medical institution or individual could act in an irresponsible way to release the virus from Pandora's box. Strict adherence to the prevention and control protocols and vaccines are the only effective weapons against the virus.

And this is the way for the country to keep the virus at bay.

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