OPINION / EDITORIAL
Early, resolute preventive measures can ensure a safe Spring Festival: Global Times editorial
Published: Jan 05, 2021 08:48 PM

Medical staff celebrate the closure of all 16 makeshift hospitals in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province on March 10 2020 when COVID-19 was finally brought under control in the city. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

North China's Hebei Province on Tuesday reported 14 new COVID-19 infections and 30 asymptomatic cases over the past 24 hours. Most of them were discovered in the provincial capital Shijiazhuang. China is facing a test of epidemic prevention and control for this year's Spring Festival. 

Authorities of the country and local regions are making appeals, hoping people will stay where they are during the upcoming holiday. But for many people, not going home or traveling may mean not celebrating the festival at all. Quite a few businesses will also suffer losses. How to make coordination for that?

We believe that taking the epidemic under control, preventing it from staging a large-scale outbreak is an unalterable target we have to reach. Curbing population flows is a proactive method. Some may feel inconvenient. But the process can help the society maintain the overall normality, keeping our losses at a very low level. 

If taking no necessary preventive measures, and if the epidemic breaks out during the Spring Festival, local governments will inevitably be forced to raise the level of prevention and control with strict measures. By then, all of us will suffer huge losses. 

China's economy shrank by 6.8 percent from a year ago in the first quarter of 2020. This mirrored our strict prevention and control measures across the country at that time. If our preventive measures can be done well this year, our economy in the first quarter will definitely perform better compared with last year. It will allow people to enjoy freedom this time. 

Do pandemic risks still exist? Scattered cases in many places and the emergence of "super spreaders" have proved that keeping vigilant is a scientific method. The novel coronavirus can survive more easily in cold weather in North China. People are mostly staying indoor. Asymptomatic cases are thus harder to find - complicating all efforts. 

Indeed, the risk of COVID-19 transmission across the country is at its highest level since last summer. The pandemic abroad has reached unprecedented peaks. The virus has mutated in a more transmissible form in the UK. Vaccines are available, but it will take some time for mass vaccinations. There is a degree of resistance fatigue in society. This means we are approaching new dangers.

Over the past year, China has won by taking resolute and timely containment measures. From the moment Wuhan was locked down, we ran ahead of the epidemic, and successfully blocked it. We then established a very strong and regular prevention and control system. We seized solid and strategic initiatives.

Since the beginning of winter, the epidemic has spread in several cities in China. Not every chain of infection can be quickly traced to its source. This tough situation requires us to be comprehensively vigilant. 

To deal with a global pandemic like COVID-19, everyone has to take responsibility. We should all listen to the advice of medical experts and follow the arrangement of national and local governments. Preventing a large-scale outbreak will test Chinese society as a whole. It will take local determination at every level of life. 

However, no matter what intensive policies we stress about the risk of the pandemic spreading this winter; no matter how vigilant we are, or what precautious measures we take - there is no need to be anxious and nervous. The strength of China's prevention and control system is real. China has brought COVID-19 under strategic control and it is firmly under our grasp. The overall situation is as firm as a rock. 

It is inevitable that the interests of some people will be violated with preventive measures. We hope that all local governments will establish a strong awareness in this regard and do their utmost to minimize the losses. Meanwhile, social understanding is also important in order to avoid greater losses. In particular, we should carry forward the spirit of mutual assistance and unity of purpose in this fight. The upcoming Spring Festival will certainly be warmer because we can do so.
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