Global experts see COVID-19 lockdown in Wuhan last year as “timely, wise step”

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Xinhua News

8th April 2021 – (Beijing) After a 76-day lockdown against COVID-19, China’s central megacity of Wuhan was finally reconnected with the rest of the world on 8th April, 2020. One year on, China has made enormous efforts to contain the pandemic and contributed to the global battle against the virus.

“It was a very bold, timely and wise step which resulted in quick decline in COVID-19 cases, thus more than compensating the loss to the economy,” said Omera Naseer, a public health specialist at National Institute of Health in Pakistan.

“Being a public health specialist, I really admire China’s step of lockdown as it has major contributions in containment of COVID-19 not only in China but across the world,” he told Xinhua.

Specifically, he pointed out that Wuhan’s resilience, determination and responsible manner, punctuated by the over 10 million residents who abided by the government’s strict lockdown orders, is “an example for the world to follow.”

“It has shown the world that if government and society act with responsibility together, major challenges can be faced rather easily,” Naseer said.

China’s overall anti-pandemic measures could be pigeonholed into three main categories of responses, according to Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, a professor of public policy at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.

The first is China undertook active case surveillance immediately after the deadly virus was reported. Massive testing was launched as soon as laboratory equipment was made available from global and Chinese sources.

“This enabled China to embark on speedy identification of and response to all COVID-19 cases that emerged in Wuhan,” he said.

Secondly, the measures were supplemented by a strict lockdown of cities and quarantine of persons with close contact to COVID-19 patients, he noted, adding that public institutions also provided instantaneous information and guidance on COVID-19 prevention measures.

Finally, China provided swift and operative policy guidance while expanding the capacity of its public health system. “This was grounded on active citizen participation in the management of the COVID-19 epidemic in China,” Costantinos said.

China’s response to COVID-19 has been “impressive” and the country has once again managed to do well in the face of a major crisis, Tobias Adrian, director of the International Monetary Fund’s monetary and capital markets department, told CNBC on Tuesday.

“China is really an impressive example of an outlier in the positive sense,” Adrian said, adding that China has defeated the pandemic “very aggressively, very early and the economy really already came back to normal levels at the middle of last year, so way ahead of any country in the world.”

Speaking about the origins of the virus, Naseer noted that its epicentre remains unknown.

“China controlled the virus when it was fastly spreading in European countries and American states,” he said. “The world had witnessed that most of the cases which later spread in the world were transmitted from other countries, not from China.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released a report on the global tracing of COVID-19 origins, after a total of 34 experts from the WHO and China jointly conducted a 28-day on-site investigation from Jan. 14 to Feb. 10 in Wuhan to study the likelihood of possible pathways.

The findings showed that “some of the suspected positive samples were detected even earlier than the first case in Wuhan, suggesting the possibility of missed circulation in other countries,” said the report.

“Don’t think about national boundaries if we really want to defeat pandemics. We have to come together with other countries to focus on how they emerge and try and stop them for the future,” said British zoologist Peter Daszak, a member of the WHO team, during a briefing on the report.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Professor Dominic Dwyer from the University of Sydney stressed that origin tracing of the coronavirus needs to be done not only China but other parts of the world.

Dwyer, also a member of the WHO expert team to China, said that further studies are needed to investigate the animal origins, or potential animal origins of the raging virus. Enditem

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