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Latest virus outbreak in final stage, health authority says

Wang Xiaoyu
Updated: Nov 22,2021 06:57    China Daily

China's latest COVID-19 outbreak, which has spread to over 20 provincial-level regions since mid-October, is entering its final stage, health officials said on Nov 20.

National Health Commission spokesman Mi Feng told a news briefing that eight provinces affected by the resurgence of the virus had registered no new local infections for at least 14 days, and multiple provinces had brought the virus under control within one incubation period.

The epidemic situation in border or port areas, including Ejine Banner in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Heihe in Heilongjiang province and Dalian in Liaoning province, has been dealt with promptly and effectively, he said.

"The existing epidemic containment policy should continue to be enforced, and virus control capacity at port areas should be further strengthened," Mi said, adding that authorities will strive to minimize the impact of the measures on production and livelihoods.

Wu Liangyou, deputy director of the commission's disease prevention and control bureau, said the outbreak in Dalian is stabilizing, but some areas are still at risk of seeing transmission in communities, and vigilance must be maintained against flare-ups.

The port city in Northeast China has reported more than 300 confirmed local infections since the first case was detected in a cold storage worker on Nov 4.

"We should not relax, and local authorities should stay cautious against the virus," Wu said.

China recorded four confirmed local infections on Nov 20 — three in Dalian and one in a border county in Yunnan province — and 13 imported infections.

In addition to prompt, science-based and coordinated measures, Wu said widespread vaccination in China has also helped rein in the virus relatively quickly.

As of Nov 19, China had delivered more than 2.42 billion COVID-19 doses and fully vaccinated nearly 1.08 billion people, or 76.3 percent of its population. More than 65.7 million booster shots have also been administered, the commission said.

"We will draw lessons from the recent epidemic and focus on improving the ability to roll out targeted, early and precise measures," Wu said.

Liu Hongbin, an official from the State Administration for Market Regulation, said the administration has set up a national platform to improve the tracing of cold-chain products. The platform is also linked to provincial-level tracing systems across the country, he added.

Wu told China Central Television on Nov 18 that laxness and loopholes in fending off imported cases, as well as the virus' spread in foreign countries, had resulted in the recent outbreak.

He said there is no reason to relax strict virus control measures at present.

"The nation's command system is maintaining an emergency status, so as to control a new cluster as fast as possible," he said. "This is, so far, the most efficient, cost-effective and rapid method to cope with the virus."

Wu added that movement restrictions will become more targeted, and care and social services for neighborhoods placed into isolation will be stepped up.

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