Fast-track arrangements won't be affected by Beijing's new infections: expert

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/14 22:11:57

Illustration: Tang Tengfei/GT

With a sound prevention and supervision procedure in place, cross-border personnel exchanges such as bilateral fast-track arrangements need not be stopped or suspended in the wake of Beijing's new coronavirus infections.

After more than 50 days of zero new local cases, Beijing reported new local infections three days in a row. The city on Sunday reported 36 COVID-19 cases, all related to a huge food distribution center, the Xinfadi Wholesale Market.

The market was swiftly locked down on Saturday, with the people involved being put under quarantine and taking nucleic acid tests. Beijing has initiated a precisely targeted system to lock down relevant communities instead of bringing the whole city to a standstill, according to domestic news site

China has been focusing on the prevention of imported infections, while overlooking other potential paths for the virus, such as imported meat transported through cold-chain logistics. If the goods came from an infected region, it is possible that the items were contaminated at the origin and carried the virus.

It is now critical to shore up the inspection and quarantine of imported biological products, especially as the pandemic continues.

However, there's no need to beef up cross-border personnel restrictions, which had just started to ease recently, including loosened international flight restrictions and bilateral fast-track arrangements with South Korea, Singapore and Germany.

The fast-track programs and international flights feature sound and strict epidemic prevention measures, such as nucleic acid tests and quarantine periods. With the proper measures in place, there's no need to stop or suspend personnel exchanges.

Domestically speaking, China has developed a complete epidemic prevention system with sufficient prevention material and facilities. There's no longer the environment for a large-scale spread in the country. 

Excessive restrictions on the movement of people are not necessary and will hinder the resumption of production and economic recovery.

Beijing will not become a second Wuhan, which sustained the worst blow from the virus in China. For starters, this isn't an ideal season for the virus to spread, compared with Wuhan's outbreak in the winter. 

Also, China has set up an effective, complete prevention system after months of all-out efforts to combat the virus. With a rapid reaction, Beijing has no possibility of becoming a second Wuhan, despite the emergence of dozens of infections.

It is important to shore up inspection and quarantine of imported biological products, and properly deal with the new infections in Beijing to effectively get this round of infections under control. There's no need to take extreme measures to lock down borders or revoke fast-track programs.

The article was compiled based on an interview with Yang Zhanqiu, deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University.


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