The new round of new crown pneumonia outbreak in China continues to spread. At present, cases of infection have been found in 11 provincial regions including Shaanxi, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and the capital Beijing, with nearly 200 confirmed cases.
According to official media reports, the spread of the epidemic was mainly related to multiple tour groups. As early as ten days ago, two couples traveling from Shanghai to the western city of Xi’an were tested positive for the new crown virus.
Authorities called the virus in this epidemic a Delta strain and said the source of the epidemic “comes from abroad.” As China still implements a strict “zero-clearing” policy, large-scale nucleic acid tests have been carried out immediately in many places, and many residential communities have also begun to be closed for management.
In order to prevent the spread of the epidemic, Gansu Province, which relies heavily on tourism, announced the closure of all tourist attractions, cinemas and other entertainment venues in the province; Beijing and Wuhan announced the postponement of marathon events. In addition, with the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics only a hundred days away, Beijing also announced the implementation of strict control policies for personnel entering Beijing.
Travel group transmission chain
According to data from China’s National Health Commission, China added 29 local cases and 5 asymptomatic infections on Monday (October 25). As of that day, 18 regions across the country were classified as medium-risk or high-risk regions.
Unlike the clustered epidemic that began to spread from Nanjing Airport in Jiangsu to other provinces in July this year, the spread of the epidemic mainly occurred among multiple tour groups. On October 16, two retired Shanghai tourists were tested positive for nucleic acid in Xi’an, and all five of their colleagues were subsequently diagnosed.
According to Chinese media reports, the seven people also passed through Zhangye, Jiuquan and Jiayuguan in Gansu Province and Ejina Banner in Inner Mongolia before heading to Xi’an. These places are the main tourist cities in western China. Among them, Ejina Banner is famous for its spectacular Populus euphratica forest in autumn.
In the following days, the authorities conducted large-scale testing of close contacts of the tour group, and again screened multiple positive cases in Yinchuan, Ningxia and Lanzhou, Gansu. They traveled in Gansu and Inner Mongolia with the previous seven-person tour group. Or had a meal in the same restaurant.
Some cities in southern China, such as Changsha in Hunan, Tianmen in Hubei, Zunyi in Guizhou, etc., were also quickly detected with cases. The infected people have all traveled to Ejina Banner and other places.
The virus also quickly penetrated the capital, Beijing, causing more than ten people to be infected. According to reports, a five-person self-driving tour group has experienced symptoms during the trip, but they did not report it in time. Instead, after returning to Beijing, they went to the pharmacy many times to buy anti-fever and cold medicine on their own, and invited others to go. Playing mahjong at home. They were subsequently diagnosed with new coronary pneumonia and 1,534 people were isolated and screened.
At a press conference held by the National Health Commission of China on Sunday (October 24), officials stated that the epidemic involved 13 tour groups or self-driving tour groups. Of the 133 cases of infection confirmed at that time, 106 were related to the chain of transmission of tour groups.
Strictly control the epidemic
Although the authorities stated that the source of this round of the epidemic came from overseas, it is not clear how the first case became infected. In order to control the epidemic, Lanzhou, Gansu, announced that all residential communities in the city will implement closed management, except for emergencies, to restrict residents from entering and exiting.
The sudden epidemic has also caused many tourists to stay. A spokesperson for the Gansu Provincial Government stated that there are 28 tourist teams from other provinces stranded there, and more than 400 people must wait in situ for two negative nucleic acid tests before they can return.
In Ejina Banner, Inner Mongolia, all residents and tourists began to fight the epidemic at home from Monday (October 25), and implemented epidemic prevention and control measures without leaving home.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China also announced the suspension of the operation of special tourism trains nationwide, and the suspension of inter-provincial tourism operations in Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Guizhou, Gansu and other medium- and high-risk regions.
Beijing will hold the Winter Olympics in February next year. To this end, the Beijing Municipal Government announced a series of strict anti-epidemic policies on Monday (October 25), including denying entry to people who visited county-level areas where confirmed cases of the new crown have appeared in the past 14 days, even if they are residents of Beijing.
In order to prevent some people from not reporting fevers, the authorities also ordered pharmacies to stop selling cough and anti-fever medicines, and clinics should not accept patients with fever, diarrhea and other symptoms. The city has also postponed the annual marathon and closed amusement parks, chess and card rooms and mahjong halls in some areas.
The Beijing Winter Olympics Organizing Committee also issued the “Epidemic Prevention Manual” on Monday (October 25), requiring almost all Winter Olympic participants to be vaccinated against the new crown, otherwise they will face a 21-day quarantine. In addition, participants will have to take a direct flight to Beijing, and then go to the Winter Olympic Village and competition venues through “closed loop” management, which will isolate them from the outside world throughout the entire process.
Since China has roughly controlled the epidemic in Wuhan in May 2020, it has continued to adopt a “zero-clearing” policy to extinguish every cluster of outbreaks through lockdowns, large-scale nucleic acid testing, and continuous isolation and medical observation of close contacts. , And close the door to overseas travelers.
However, the high social cost of maintaining the “zero clearing” policy has been causing debate in China. The National Bureau of Statistics of China announced last week that the country’s third-quarter GDP growth rate “breaks 5” to 4.9% year-on-year, which is 3 percentage points slower than the growth rate in the second quarter, which is worse than expected. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, “the domestic economic recovery is still unstable and uneven.”
Ruili, a small town in Yunnan that borders Myanmar, has been closed five times in the past two years, and many people have done nearly 60 nucleic acid tests.
With the introduction of more transmissible variant viruses such as Delta, the virus often spreads quickly in many provinces, which makes it more costly to control the epidemic. In late July this year, the outbreak at Nanjing Lukou International Airport in Jiangsu spread to nine provinces including Hunan, Liaoning, and Guangdong. The number of direct or indirect infections reached hundreds of people, making it the most widespread epidemic since the Wuhan epidemic.
Zhang Wenhong, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Huashan Hospital affiliated to Fudan University in Shanghai, said at the time that China should consider “coexisting with the virus,” and he was criticized and even attacked by many netizens. Opponents believe that “clearing” can maximize the protection of people’s lives and health and provide a safe environment.
In an interview in October, Gao Fu, director of the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, once again euphemistically stated that China may adjust its strategy in the future.
“We will reach more than 85% (vaccination rate) as soon as possible by the beginning of 2022… If by that time, the world is open and the mortality rate drops so low, why don’t we open it?” Gao Fu said.
“Seeing that the fatality rate and the epidemic situation of the virus are becoming more and more like influenza… It is getting more and more unable to go. Seeing that it is going to coexist with humans, if our strategy is to destroy the virus like SARS, I am afraid we have to learn. On protracted war,” he said.
The Chinese government has vigorously promoted vaccination since the beginning of this year. Official data show that China’s cumulative vaccination has exceeded 2 billion doses, and nearly 890 million people have completed the entire vaccination process, which is equivalent to more than 60% of the country’s population.
In response to the recent epidemic, the authorities have also accelerated the promotion of booster vaccination injections. People who have reached the age of 18 and have received the second vaccination for half a year can now receive a third booster injection.