New outbreak raises doubts about China’s ‘no Covid’ strategy

The man who completed 21 days of isolation after returning to China could trigger a new outbreak, questioning the “no Covid” strategy.

A new outbreak in Fujian province, southeast China has infected 64 people with nCoV, including 15 elementary school students. The new outbreak, recorded a few weeks after China successfully contained its worst outbreak in more than a year, highlights the growing challenge posed by the Delta mutation, even for the country to take countermeasures. The world’s most rigorous translation.

The outbreak in Fujian was discovered after two brothers were positive in a routine Covid-19 test at a primary school in Tien Du district, Putian city, on September 9. Another student and three parents tested positive the next day, the Putian city government said at a press conference on September 10.

The government’s medical advisers believe that a parent who recently returned from Singapore is likely the source of the new outbreak, even though this person has completed a 21-day quarantine after returning home.

The man returned from Singapore to Xiamen, Fujian on August 4 and spent 14 days in mandatory isolation at a hotel. He is in concentrated isolation for another seven days at a designated location in Tien Du, before going home to monitor his health for another week, according to the Putian government.

This person had negative test results 9 times in 21 days of isolation, before being positive on September 10, 37 days after entry.

Medical staff take a sample for Covid-19 test for a baby in Tien Du district, Putian city, Fujian province on September 13.  Photo: AFP.

Medical staff take a sample for Covid-19 test for a baby in Tien Du district, Putian city, Fujian province on September 13. Photo: AFP.

China’s border restrictions and mandatory quarantine requirements for entry are among the strictest in the world. Since successfully controlling the initial outbreak in Wuhan, the Chinese government has asserted that all domestic outbreaks are caused by infection from abroad, through people from abroad or imported goods.

Chinese authorities did not disclose when, where or how the man contracted the virus, but the incubation period of more than 21 days is considered very unusual. Researchers at the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that the Delta variant had an average incubation period of four days, compared with an average of six days for the parent strain.

Some people questioned on social networks whether the man above did not bring nCoV back to the country, but contracted the virus in the community after returning to Tien Du.

As of the afternoon of September 12, Putian recorded 32 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 32 asymptomatic cases. China does not include asymptomatic cases in its total number of infections.

The disease also spread to other cities in the province. China’s National Health Commission yesterday said that a community case was recorded in Quanzhou and one in Xiamen.

During the latest outbreak in late July caused by the Delta strain in Jiangsu province, the disease spread to more than half of China’s provinces and infected more than 1,200 people. The number of infections has increased rapidly in a short time despite the strict isolation and blockade policy, which is considered the biggest challenge to China’s “no Covid-19” strategy.

The local government responded by placing a blockade on tens of millions of residents, large-scale testing and tracing, and restricting movement within the country. By the end of August, health officials announced the outbreak was “effectively under control”.

While the “no Covid” strategy seems to work, experts say that with the spread of the Delta strain, it will take longer for China to bring infections back to zero than outbreaks. previously broadcast. Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the effectiveness of this strategy is diminishing when it comes to dealing with the Delta strain.

“It will be more and more difficult to maintain that approach, in terms of time, organizational capacity and financial and economic difficulties to bring cases to zero,” he said. “No matter how strict the travel restrictions are, imported cases will continue to appear, causing a domestic outbreak.”

Countries like Australia and Singapore have turned to a new approach to learning how to live with Covid-19, after relying on a “no Covid” strategy to contain the outbreak for most of the past year.

Huyen Le (Follow CNN)

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