Foreign media say Beijing's containment of COVID-19 resurgence boosts morale in anti-pandemic fight

Li Wei
2020-07-20 23:12:56

BEIJING, July 20 (Xinhua) -- After reporting zero new COVID-19 case for 14 consecutive days by Sunday, Beijing has lowered its emergency response to the pandemic from level II to III from Monday -- a move that foreign media said will boost morale in the country's anti-COVID-19 battle.

Following the decision of the Beijing municipal government, Bloomberg observed in a piece on Sunday that "the outbreak that started in mid-June infected at least 335 people and sparked fears of a second wave in China, but ended up being contained relatively quickly in less than 30 days."

As other cities in the region, including China's Hong Kong and Japan's capital Tokyo, are struggling with a resurgence of infections, "the containment of the resurgence in its political and cultural center is a boost to China's confidence in the fight against the pandemic," Bloomberg wrote.

Another piece written by Bloomberg and published on the website of the global media organization Fortune on July 7 said that Beijing deployed "targeted measures," which "could hold lessons for other countries as they grapple with the inevitable return of the virus."

The city relied on "targeted testing at unprecedented speed" and "targeted lockdowns," it said, adding that the city has also drawn lessons from Wuhan to be better prepared for the virus while it remains "circumspect."

Chen Bei, deputy secretary-general of the Beijing municipal government, said Sunday that people in Beijing now have a low risk of infection as the spread of the virus in residential communities has been contained and the city also has a rather low risk of exporting cases to other regions.

By 3 p.m. Sunday (0700 GMT), 219 of the 335 COVID-19 patients had been discharged from the hospital after recovery and 116 were still hospitalized, but there were no severe or critical cases, said Gao Xiaojun, spokesman for the Beijing Municipal Health Commission, at a press briefing.

More than 11 million people in Beijing, about half of the capital's population, took nucleic acid tests between June 11 and July 6, according to local authorities.

"China has not seen the kind of surges in other countries mainly because of its strategy of erring on the side of caution. It has been determined to nip the surge of cases in the bud by responding swiftly once the first cases are identified," Singaporean news daily the Straits Times quoted Huang Yanzhong, a senior fellow for global health with U.S. think tank Council on Foreign Relations, in a report on Friday.

"What the country did right in managing the virus could have valuable lessons for others in the region now battling resurgences," it said.

An article published by U.S. news outlet Time on its website in early July noted that the contrast in leadership "is striking" when compared with the United States.

While Chinese officials talked of a "wartime mode and "explosive situation" at the "battleground" of Beijing's Xinfadi market, U.S. President Donald Trump said the virus would "just disappear" as his country recorded more than 52,000 new infections in early July, it said.


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