Fighting second wave of pandemic allows no flukes

By Ai Jun Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/13 21:54:00

A pedestrian wearing a face mask or covering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, walks past barriers advertising a one-way system for shoppers, in Liverpool, north west England on October 13, 2020, as new local lockdown measures are set to be imposed to help stem a second wave of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Photo: AFP

The novel coronavirus is sweeping Europe again. 

A growing number of countries are witnessing thousands of new infections every day, while the UK, France and Spain's daily confirmed cases have been over 10,000 lately. If there is any way that could explain the virus surge in the continent, it would be that European countries have not learned the lessons from the last outbreak. 

What happened last winter illustrates how fast the novel coronavirus could spread in cold weather. Europe, which has not cleared its locally transmitted infections in the first wave, seems to have relaxed vigilance before local outbreaks were completely wiped out. They tend to put more emphasis on their economy, while pinning their hopes on a vaccine. 

Last month, when the novel coronavirus outbreak rebound was taking shape in Europe, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on September 11 the country was not planning to "put on hold our social, cultural and economic lives." Yet, under the rapidly increasing pressure of dramatic spikes in coronavirus, Castex clarified on Monday that local lockdowns can no longer be ruled out. 

On Monday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a new three-tier lockdown system in England to "simplify and standardize" local coronavirus restrictions, including banning social mixing indoors and closing pubs entirely in areas worst affected by COVID-19. According to The Guardian, "Italy is expected to ban private parties, and the Czech Republic announced it would close bars." Obviously, they are now trying to make remedies. 

China is also going through a local epidemic rebound. After China's National Day holiday, six people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province, with another six being asymptomatic. But China has wasted no time. It launched a citywide nucleic acid test campaign immediately that will cover all its 9 million residents. 

As of Tuesday morning, a third of the tests have been done, and no new infections were spotted. Still, over 200 flights in and out of the city had been cancelled. Some neighborhoods are locked down. All these efforts are made due to the six confirmed cases. 

Early detection, early diagnosis, early isolation, and early treatment are the most effective measures as China's way to win the virus battle. Before relevant vaccines are officially approved for public use, this is also the only approach to deal with this public health crisis. 

Battling COVID-19 with all-out effort is hard. But there is no other way. Reopening in haste without realizing zero locally transmitted infections will only lead to more coronavirus rebounds. Amid such a crisis, leaving things to chance is nothing short of playing Russian Roulette. 

It is hoped European countries can rediscover and revitalize their ability as developed economies, bringing their strength into full play, and eventually defeat the virus.

Posted in: OBSERVER

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