China reported no new cases of the domestic coronavirus on Monday, and Beijing appears poised to end the most severe resurgence of the pandemic in months – driven by the highly contagious Delta variant – with mass testing and targeted blockages.
The latest outbreak, which began in mid-July when cleaners at a Nanjing airport tested positive, is the most serious since the first outbreak of Covid-19 in the central city of Wuhan.
More than a thousand people have been infected in dozens of cities.
But Communist authorities have responded with swift localized closures, travel restrictions and mass testing of infected neighborhoods as part of their “zero-case” approach to the pandemic, which has virtually sealed off China’s borders but allowed for the economy to rebound.
New domestic infections have been on the decline for more than two weeks.
On Monday, data from the National Health Commission showed local infections returned to zero after a five-week battle.
Meanwhile, health experts are trying to build confidence in the country’s vaccination campaign, with leading virologist Zhong Nanshan saying “effective herd immunity” looms on the horizon once more than 80 % of the population will be vaccinated – a target likely to be reached by the end of the year.
Chinese vaccines are nearly 60% effective against Delta, with antibodies increasing with a booster, he added.
As of Saturday, nearly 1.94 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered, according to official figures, although the proportion of those vaccinated is unclear.
Officials are using big data to “quickly identify high-risk areas,” isolate high-risk groups in centralized areas and quickly share information between regions, said Gao Guangming of the National Health Commission in a recent report. press conference.
Beijing has also cracked down on officials who mismanaged local outbreaks, with dozens punished as authorities rushed to contain transmissions.
© 2021 AFP