Why did China adopt strict prevention and control measures in less-hit areas?

CIKD | Updated: 2020-04-25 13:20

It is important to note that the information provided in this Series is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

A JD deliveryman (left) waits for a temperature check at the gate of a residential community that has installed a special cabinet for depositing parcels in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, on Feb 3, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

On January 20, China adopted the whole-of-government and whole-of-society strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19. As of January 30, 31 provinces (autonomous regions/municipalities) on the Chinese mainland had all launched first-level public health emergency response. However, 17 of the provinces had fewer than 100 confirmed cases. China decided to take strict prevention and control measures in less-affected areas for reasons such as limited knowledge about the virus and its associated risks. When the situation became better, localities eased prevention and control promptly to get people and enterprises back to work in an orderly manner.

Strict prevention and control were essential when there was no adequate knowledge of the virus and epidemic. COVID-19 is a new infectious disease. In early days, little was known about the virus and its infection risks. Under such circumstances, it was necessary to take the most comprehensive, strictest, and most thorough prevention and control measures nationwide. This would help cut off the spread of the disease and prevent the entire prevention and control system from dismantling due to oversights. As Jan Bondar, a spokesman for Poland's State Sanitary Inspection commented, "We are combating a new virus. We now know more about it. But we knew very little in early days. Hence, I think the world should thank China for having taken such strict and effective measures."

The COVID-19 outbreak coincides with the Spring Festival holiday, making strict prevention and control necessary and feasible. The Spring Festival is the most important traditional holiday in China and often witnesses the widest, largest and most frequent movement of population. Massive travel across regions and frequent visits and gatherings occur during the holiday. On January 20, experts confirmed that there was human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus. As such, it was imperative to adopt strict prevention and control measures nationwide to curb the spread of the epidemic brought by movements and gatherings. Meanwhile, during the Spring Festival holiday, factories are scheduled to close, and workers return to hometown for reunion, making it feasible to implement strict prevention and control measures nationwide. 

As the pandemic is gradually being contained, some localities have adopted differentiated measures to resume production. Due to the timely, decisive and strict prevention and control measures taken in early days, COVID-19 has been contained in many regions in China. On February 28, the State Council Information Office announced that epidemic prevention and control situation had seen steady improvement. In this context, prevention and control measures have been relaxed step by step in many areas. As of March 23, 27 provinces (autonomous regions/municipalities) have lowered their emergency response level. Currently, China is trying to resume production and promote economic and social development under the premise of forestalling another resurgence.





Authors: Zhong Sheng and Yu Lu, Center for International Knowledge on Development

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