China strives to bring current COVID-19 outbreak under control by the end of August: Director of the National Health Commission
Published: Aug 17, 2021 12:58 AM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

 With the upcoming return to school and a series of major events to be organized in some provinces in September, Ma Xiaowei, Director of China's National Health Commission, told media on Monday that China will strive to control the current COVID-19 epidemic by the end of August to get life back to normal as soon as possible.

According to Xinhua News Agency, as of August 14, China has local confirmed cases in 16 provinces and 150 medium and high-risk areas. The flareup of the epidemic in a short period of time has posed the most severe and complex prevention and control situation in China since 2021, Ma said.

Ma noted that the current wave of outbreaks are all caused by the Delta variant which is characterized by fast transmission and rapid replication, making it more difficult to prevent and control. Additionally, crowds gathering places such as scenic spots, chess rooms and construction sites play an amplifying role in the epidemic.

Ma mentioned that it is a relief that the current risk of the spread of the epidemic in China is generally controllable. As of August 14, 36 of the 48 cities with outbreaks have reported no new infections for more than six days, with only sporadic cases reported in the rest of the country. Yangzhou city, in East China's Jiangsu Province, is the exception with around a dozen locally transmitted cases still reported.

"Considering that many places have continued to strengthen various preventive measures and have taken stricter control measures on the movement of people, the risk of a large-scale spread of the epidemic at the national level is relatively small," Ma explained.

In addition to major universities, primary and secondary schools across the China starting new term in September as scheduled, the National Games, China's highest level comprehensive sports event, will also be held in northwest China's Shaanxi Province in mid-September.

Ma noted that currently, China's COVID-19 vaccination work has been progressing in an orderly manner with more than 1.85 billion doses delivered and more than 770 million people been vaccinated as of last Saturday. The vaccination of minors between the ages of 12 and 17 is also progressing steadily as planned. 

Ma said that since the start of the current wave of the epidemic, the National Health Commission has sent 20 working groups across the country to supervise and guide epidemic prevention and control. 

"Practice has proved that the measures we have developed are effective. At present, we should pay further attention to the regular epidemic prevention and control and the disposal of outbreak in clusters, adhere to prevention-oriented guidelines, strengthen weak areas and reinforce the prevention and control perspective," he added.