GT Voice: Holiday revelers should not lessen guard against coronavirus

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/20 21:08:59

Photo: Xinhua

The possibility of imported cold-chain food products causing another moderate wave of COVID-19 outbreak in China is casting a shadow over the upcoming holiday economy.

The environment-to-human transmission has become a new pattern in the spread of the coronavirus, China's top respiratory expert and leading epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan said on Saturday, calling on scientists to look for answers to this growing menace.

Zhong's comments came at a time when an increased number of cases, caused by coronavirus-contaminated cold-chain imports were reported across the country, of which some have caused small outbreaks in outlying land ports or coastal cities in recent days.

What's worse, the outer packaging of a batch of chicken drumsticks produced in East China's Anhui Province tested positive for the coronavirus last week, marking the first time that COVID-19 was reported on domestically-produced cold-chain.

Such a wild development underlines the daunting challenges facing the country in the prevention and control of the transmission risks of the deadly virus. As a precaution, Chinese customs authorities and other related government departments have stepped up alert to strictly manage the risks embroiled in cold-chain transportation, while cold-chain food tracing platforms have been set up in many localities in the country.

However, some Western media outlets have not stopped criticizing or even smearing China's virus prevention efforts, playing up conspiracy theory over delays in customs clearance for cold-chain imports. In a time of rising uncertainty, it is totally justified for the country's customs clearance procedures to take a little bit more time and become more complex for the greater good of public health.

Thailand on Saturday reported more than 500 cases of coronavirus at a seafood market, the biggest one-day spike in the number of infections in the country. The new outbreak dealt a heavy blow to Thailand's efforts to revive its tourism economy that was hit hard this year. The country had just eased restrictions to attract the return of foreign tourists.

Likewise, with the festive days looming, how China's holiday economy will fare depends largely on the government's strict virus prevention and control measures. During the upcoming long holiday season, rising festival activities will inevitably lead to a hike in environment-to-human virus transmission risks. So, it is totally warranted that oversight over cold-chain meat and seafood imports is heightened by China's regulatory authorities.

Chinese people were very worried about a possible ferocious wave of COVID-19 transmissions when they were ordered to keep social distancing and not visit relatives and friends during the last Spring Festival in late January. The holiday economy crashed because of the government's draconian shutdown measure, which turns out to be a decisive step for the country to stifle the sudden outbreak and win the war against the once-in-a-century pathogen.

The upcoming holiday economy could also be impacted, if the governments at varied levels ease intensity of oversight, causing a new wave of sporadic virus outbreaks in China. We suggest all holiday revelers keep taking precautionary measures such as wearing masks and maintaining social distancing. We must not lessen our guard. 

Posted in: GT VOICE

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