Italy witnesses preliminary effect from learning Chinese way in virus control

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/18 20:23:40

A tour bus with a few tourists is seen on the street in Rome, Italy, on March 4, 2020. A total of 2,706 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Italy since the epidemic first broke out, up from 2,263 cases on Tuesday evening, the Civil Protection Department said Wednesday. (Photo by Alberto Lingria/Xinhua)

Italy's dip in new coronavirus infections after weeks of lockdowns is expected to wake up more Western countries to see that China's model is the only effective virus prevention measure under the current circumstances. Chinese observers noted that if not blinded by typical Western bias, lockdowns should have come sooner to many countries and spared the lives of hundreds, or even thousands.

Angelo Borrelli, head of Civil Protection, said at a conference on Monday that the new cases of infection in Italy saw a slight dip in the curve for the past few days, which led him to speculate that Italy is about to embrace tapering soon, according to local media. 

This is the first time the Italian government announced an easing of the virus' spread, after Rome announced a drastic nationwide lockdown two weeks ago. 

Italy's public and experts urged caution as a slight dip cannot be interpreted as a turning point, and Italy on Tuesday saw a jump of new infections with more than 3,500 cases, bringing the total number to 31,506. 

Although the number jumped, the flattened curve of previous consecutive days gives us hope, Milan resident Davide Scirocco told the Global Times, noting that the news of another Chinese medical team's mission in Italy to aid the country's virus battle is also inspiring for many quarantined Italians. "I believe this will greatly improve our treatments and help further reduce the infection and mortality rates."

Hu Xu from the second Chinese team to aid Italy, who is also a traditional Chinese medicine doctor, told the Global Times that they will talk to Italian doctors about their clinic's difficulty of treating patients and their preferred treatment plans.

"We will also coach the Italians in the usage of plasma treatment, as they demonstrated vast interest in the plasma treatment playbook," said Hu.  

Italy is the first Western country to follow China's lead in imposing a decisive lockdown. It later built makeshift hospitals to quarantine patients with mild symptoms, under guidance of a Chinese aid team. 

On heels of Italy, other European countries, such as Spain and France, followed the practice of lockdowns, amid surges of new infections and deaths. 

Those countries have long known that drastic measures to restrict mobility and lockdowns are the only effective ways to curb fast spreading of the virus under current circumstances, Shen Yi, an expert from Fudan University, told the Global Times.

But at the  early stage, Western countries brushed off the playbook as they believed that "what works in China is not for us," said Shen.

Song Luzheng, from the China Institute of Fudan University, who currently lives in France, said that many European media claimed they just followed the model of Spain and Italy. "But we all know who initiated the model, Spain and Italy are still receiving aid from China."

Observers said that under the ideology of "Western supremacy" and their deep-rooted bias, learning from China is deemed as "politically incorrect and undercuts their image," so they "sugarcoated" their practice as one of following Spain and Italy, so the model can be further passed to other Western countries, said Song.

He said that he is pleased to see that many Western countries, who used to sneeze at the drastic measures of lockdowns and restricting mobility, have now returned to rationality. They are more focused on crisis-solving, instead of judging different values and ideologies, said Song.

"But the price of bringing back to their senses is huge; it is based on thousands of lives," said Song. 

Hu Yuwei also contributed to the story


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