Things Are Looking Up for China
Many regions in China have not reported any new confirmed cases of COVID-19 for several consecutive days, even in Wuhan, the epidemic epicenter – the situation is getting better.
Chinese hospitals overflowing with COVID-19 patients a few weeks ago now have empty beds. In a dramatic sign that the coronavirus is improving in China, the last two of the 16 temporary hospitals in the epicenter city of Wuhan have been shut down. According to the Xinhua news agency, the final group of 49 patients walked out of the Wuchang temporary hospital in the capital of Hubei province on Tuesday afternoon. Top infectious disease official Anthony Fauci said on the 15th of March, that after strict containment and mitigation, China’s novel coronavirus outbreak is “coming right down now”.
China, where COVID-19 first set off alarms, has passed through the worst. According to a Johns Hopkins University database, the country has had the bulk of the cases and fatalities: nearly 81,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,200 deaths. However, in a turn of events, China recently reported just 11 new cases which are minuscule compared to the numbers it used to see weeks ago, showcasing the effectiveness of the measures that China has taken to contain the virus. Many regions in China have not reported any new confirmed cases of COVID-19 for several consecutive days, even in Wuhan, the epidemic epicenter – the situation is getting better.
“No one can do what China just did”
In a report released on 28 February from a mission organized by the World Health Organization, much of it focused on how China managed to achieve what many public health experts thought was impossible- containing the spread of a widely circulated respiratory virus.
At the height of the outbreak, China implemented the immediate lockdown of Wuhan and nearby cities in the Hubei province, which has put at least 50 million people under a mandatory quarantine. Chinese authorities then built two dedicated hospitals in Wuhan in just over 1 week. Healthcare workers from all over the country were sent to the outbreak’s center. The Chinese government launched an unprecedented effort to trace contacts of confirmed cases. In Wuhan alone, more than 1800 teams of five or more people traced tens of thousands of contacts. Aggressive social distancing measures were also immediately implemented throughout the entire country including canceling major events and festivals with usually saw large groups. Because of all these measures, public life was greatly reduced. But it worked.
“China has an extraordinary ability to do labour-intensive, large-scale projects in a short amount of time”, says Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Centre for Global Development, and continued: “ No one else in the world really can do what China just did”.