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Expert: Severe epidemic won't happen in China in autumn and winter

(Xinhua)    14:16, August 25, 2020

With the summer coming to an end, many people are worried about the rebound of the COVID-19 epidemic in China in autumn and winter.

However, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told a press conference on Wednesday that the authorities are confident that any outbreak will be brought quickly under control.

"The COVID-19 epidemic in China will not be as severe as that in Wuhan at the beginning of this year," he said.

Citing subsequent imported cases in northeast China in April and May and outbreaks in Beijing, Dalian and Urumqi in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in June and July, Wu said, "After more than half a year of practice, China now has the ability to detect the outbreak in its early stages and put it under control in a timely manner."

A fast-response monitoring system is one of the keys to prevent a rebound of the epidemic, Wu told the press, adding that there are three aspects of the system:

1. Patients must go to the hospital at once if they develop COVID-19 symptoms.

2. The health service centers of communities and hospitals must be able to diagnose patients.

3. When the first case occurs, the authorities need to be able to identify the source and estimate the scale of the potential epidemic.

"Practice has proved that as long as we can detect the outbreak in the first place, we can control it," Wu said.

Preventing imported cases has become a key task in China's epidemic prevention and control work.

Wu told the press conference that it's important to prevent the virus from being brought into China through infected patients and contaminated frozen foods.

He also suggested that the general public continue taking protective measures including wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and going to the hospital if symptoms like a fever and a headache occur.

'No coronavirus deaths in almost 4 months'

Health officials at the press conference said the pandemic control measures carried out in the past are the strongest proof that China's experience, methods and strategies in treating critical patients are valuable.

According to Guo Yanhong, inspector of China's National Health Commission (NHC), no hospitalized coronavirus patients have died in "almost four months."

NHC data shows the last time a virus death reported was on April 14 – in Wuhan, central China.

The Chinese mainland has recorded 84,939 cases since the beginning of the outbreak, with the death toll standing at 4,716, including 75 fatalities from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and 7 from the Taiwan region. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Bianji)

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