COVID-19 Cases

China calls for vigilance over coronavirus, warns against complacency

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On Tuesday, Chinese health authorities called for vigilance against the novel coronavirus to be maintained as new clusters emerge, although the peak of the epidemic in the country where it first appeared has passed.

New cases have been reported in seven provinces over the past two weeks including Hubei, the original epicenter of last year's outbreak.

Wuhan, Hubei capital, reported its first cluster of infections on Monday, since a month ago a lockdown on the city was lifted.

The reappearance of clusters suggested that counter-epidemic measures could not be relaxed, a media briefing was told by Mi Feng, spokesperson at the National Health Commission.

While efforts to prevent and control had been standardized, this did not mean that action could be eased, Mi said.

As of Monday, for signs of novel coronavirus infection, mainland China had 115 current confirmed cases whereas 5,470 people were under medical observation.

Asymptomatic cases are a major concern-people who do not show any clinical signs of infection but who spread the virus. The number of such cases is not known since they only appear on health authorities' radar when they appear in tests.

Health authorities also warned against complacency at Beijing, where only 13 cases are still being treated.

"Even after the 13 patients recovered and discharged from hospital, that doesn't mean that there is zero risk afterwards," Lei Haichao, head of the Beijing Health Commission, told a media briefing.

Peking was one of the few places in China that upheld strict screening, testing, and quarantine rules. It even stopped all international flights directly from landing in town.

But now China needs to strike a balance between maintaining a degree of control over public health and easing restrictions where it is considered safe to do so, and returning society and the economy to some state of normalcy.

"City sealing was once an extremely effective method for us to deal with the epidemic, but now we need to strike a balance between economic recovery and prevention and control of the epidemic," Lei said.

The government has allowed the gradual reopening of cinemas, museums and other recreational venues throughout the country, a move that is welcomed by a virus-hit services sector.

But performance venues need to keep their operating capacity at no more than 30 per cent, the Association of China Culture Administration said.

Internet bars and entertainment venues' operating capacity should be capped at less than 50 percent, it said.

Shanghai Disneyland reopened for the first time in three months on Monday, but limited the number of daily visitors to 20 per cent capacity.

Article Edited by | John Heine |

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