China reports single-digit new cases for 1st time in one-month resurgence
US, Europe grapple with rebound, incapable of pursuing dynamic zero-case policy: expert
Published: Nov 17, 2021 09:53 PM
Traffic resumes in Tongliao, North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on November 12, 2021. Photo: VCG

Traffic resumes in Tongliao, North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on November 12, 2021. Photo: VCG

While the West still suffers from a severe epidemic rebound and economic setbacks, China - where the latest COVID-19 resurgence has swept across 21 provinces and regions, the most severe wave since the Wuhan outbreak - reported new cases at the single-digit level for the first time in a month. 

Data released by the National Health Commission on Wednesday showed that only eight domestically transmitted confirmed cases were reported in the Chinese mainland on Tuesday, marking the first time for new cases to fall to the single-digit range in the past 29 days.

The latest COVID-19 resurgence started on October 17 and has so far reached 1,327 cases in total, of which most were in Northeast China's Heilongjiang (277), Liaoning (275) provinces and North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (187).

Analysts said China's dynamic zero-case approach once again proved to be effective, forming a sharp contrast with the West, which still suffers from a severe rebound under its stubborn living-with-the-virus policy. It is also a slap in the face of foreign media outlets which have been dedicated to discrediting the effectiveness of China's anti-epidemic policy.

They attributed the fast and precise control of the widespread infections to local governments' thorough implementation of the dynamic zero-case policy and predicted that more new confirmed cases related to the recent wave were likely to be reported in the following days, but it will come to a close within two weeks.

China's dynamic zero-case policy guided the country through the recent wave one more time. It was not only threatened by the Delta variant and a cold wave, but featured multiple imported cases in different cities within the same period of time, Wang Guangfa, a Beijing-based expert specializing in epidemiology, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

News of local anti-epidemic missions being completed, medical staffers who came to aid others having started their return journeys, and COVID-19 patients being discharged from hospitals have popped up one after another in recent days.

Joy and excitement filled Chinese social media as residents in many previously epidemic-affected regions started to gradually resume their normal lives. For instance, interprovincial travel in Northwest China's Gansu Province did not require a nucleic acid test report from Tuesday, and business, tourism and schools in the province will gradually resume operations as well.

Even Ruili, a city along the border of Myanmar and China, which once was taken by the West as an example to back up its theory casting doubt on China's dynamic zero-case approach, has partially lifted restrictions on Tuesday.

At least seven agricultural markets and 24 enterprises in industrial parks in Ruili resumed operations, and 5,200 students in eight schools returned to their classrooms, according to local newspaper Yunnan Daily.  

Residents in villages and communities that reported zero positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts in the previous 14 days were able to travel around within the city starting from Tuesday.

Wang said that the possibility of more sporadic new cases being reported in the following days cannot be ruled out, but the recent wave starting from the northwestern part of China will be controlled within two weeks as the dynamic zero-case policy continues to be implemented.

It is worth to restrict the activities of certain people in exchange for normal operations for the country. The scientific strategy of "early detection, early reporting, early isolation and early treatment" is a relatively low cost given the huge population, urban-rural gap and insufficient medical resources, Wang said.

While Chinese cities and residents are gradually returning to normalcy under the guidance of dynamic zero-case policy, residents and economies in the West are still suffering from rampant outbreaks. The West chose to treat COVID-19 in the same way as it treats influenza in sacrificing the lives of its own citizens, with an irresponsible manner and disdain for life. 

"The dynamic zero-case approach is not something US, Europe can easily pursue or achieve," Wang said. 

Europe has become the epicenter of the pandemic again. Germany's cases were accelerating on Tuesday, with cases over the past seven days at a record 312.4 per 100,000 people and deaths jumping by 265, the steepest one-day increase since May 27, Bloomberg reported.

The Global Times learned from the Global COVID-19 Prediction System, led by Lanzhou University in Gansu, that its model showed the number of new cases in the US and India could exceed 17 million and 8.6 million, respectively, from early November to the end of April 2022, despite a slow decline in the number of daily confirmed cases.

The predictions of this system also showed that the number of daily new COVID-19 cases in many European countries have shown an upward, fluctuating trend. Six of the top 10 countries with the highest predicted new COVID-19 cases in the next six months are in Europe, behind the US and India.

China should be unswerving toward the dynamic zero-case policy. When the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, China will naturally consider shifting policy for the sake of protecting the country and its people, Zeng Guang, former chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Global Times in an earlier interview.