China remains vulnerable to second wave of coronavirus due to lack of immunity

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Dr. Zhong Nanshan, the top respiratory authority in China, says the country still faces a “big challenge” of a potential second wave of Covid-19 infections.

“The majority of … Chinese at the moment are still susceptible of the Covid-19 infection, because (of) a lack of immunity,” Zhong said in an exclusive interview with CNN. “We are facing (a) big challenge, it’s not better than the foreign countries I think at the moment.”

Zhong, the Chinese government’s senior medical adviser and the public face of the country’s fight against Covid-19, said Chinese authorities should not be complacent.

Lockdowns have eased and some schools and factories have already reopened across the country.

Authorities in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus was first reported, suppressed key details about the magnitude of the initial outbreak, according to  Zhong.

“The local authorities, they didn’t like to tell the truth at that time,” Zhong said. “At the very beginning they kept silent, and then I said probably we have (a larger) number of people being infected.”

Zhong said he became suspicious when the number of officially reported cases in Wuhan remained at 41 for more than 10 days — despite infections emerging overseas.

China has reported more than 82,000 coronavirus cases, with at least 4,633 deaths, according to data from the country’s National Health Commission. The number of new infections surged quickly in late January, prompting city lockdowns and nationwide travel bans.

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