Chinese scientists and health experts involved in the country’s fight against the coronavirus believe the worst is now over, downplaying warnings that the disease could become seasonal or that a deadlier “second wave” could hit later in the year.
As the pandemic continues to spread overseas, a growing number of countries are bracing themselves for a worst-case scenario in which COVID-19 remains in circulation until next year at the earliest.
But medical advisers in China have expressed confidence that the country’s strict containment measures have done enough to ensure that the outbreak can be brought under complete control, domestically at least, within weeks.
Though they remain wary of the risks of “importing” cases from overseas, they say China should be capable of eliminating COVID-19 in the same way it eliminated Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003. SARS was eventually contained after the government imposed stringent screening and quarantine measures.
“For me, a second outbreak (of coronavirus), a domestic outbreak in China, wouldn’t be a great concern,” said Cao Wei, deputy director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital.
She told a briefing on Monday that while China needed another month to make a final judgment, the existing prevention and control measures should be enough to bring the epidemic to an end domestically.
The World Health Organization has said the coronavirus reached a peak in China around late February. Zhong Nanshan, a senior government adviser who helped detect and defeat SARS in 2003, said it “could be over by June” if other countries take the required action.
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