China’s southwestern city of Chengdu has entered “wartime mode” in its battle to contain a new coronavirus outbreak, China’s state-run Global Times reported on Tuesday.
Health authorities in Chengdu, located in Sichuan Province, say they detected seven new coronavirus cases between December 6-8 and are now “racing against time to track the patients’ close contacts scattered across the city.”
“Chengdu has entered ‘wartime mode,’ said Secretary of Communist Party of China Sichuan Committee Peng Qinghua on Tuesday,” according to the newspaper.
After identifying two new coronavirus cases in Chengdu on Monday and another five on Tuesday, “[t]he local government has sealed off the Pidu District People’s Hospital, where the patients received treatment, as well as the neighborhoods where the patients live,” which include Pidu District and Taiping village.
“Residents in communities close to where those patients live are banned from going out before their nucleic acid testing results [for coronavirus] come out,” a Pidu District resident named Luo told the Global Times, adding that she has been forced to work from home and remain inside her residence since Monday. All schools and kindergartens in Pidu will suspend classes starting Tuesday.
Chengdu Mayor Wang Fengchao on Monday mandated coronavirus testing for all of Pidu District’s one million residents.
“We must immediately carry out large-scale testing and thoroughly investigate possible infections … and make sure there are no omissions out there,” Wang said at a press conference.
Other districts in Chengdu, including Chenghua and Jinjiang, have announced contact tracing efforts to identify “close contacts of the patients and require them to receive nucleic acid tests as soon as possible,” the Global Times learned.
According to Wang on Monday, this new coronavirus outbreak is Chengdu’s first since March.
As Chengdu enters “wartime mode” to tackle its coronavirus resurgence, the Global Times on Tuesday chastised the U.S. for its own handling of the ongoing Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
Reporting on U.S. President Donald Trump’s work to implement a mass coronavirus vaccination program in America, the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece dismissed the leader’s efforts to hasten the jab’s distribution as ultimately fruitless.
“Trump is expected to hold a summit at the White House on Tuesday to highlight the rapid development of a COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] vaccine he is eager to take credit for, as well as the administration’s ambitious plan to vaccinate all Americans,” the newspaper reported.
“Even if the vaccine is developed, many Americans, especially Trump’s supporters, would question the vaccine or even not receive vaccination as the US is mired in an anti-science trend,” Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times.
“Although the US federal government encourages people to vaccinate, whether the states will follow the plan remains uncertain as many states and their residents’ neglect continues,” Li claimed.
“Vaccination cannot save the US from the epidemic. It is unrealistic to inject more than 200 million people in the US in about two or three months due to the current production and distribution capability of vaccines,” Wang Guangfa, a respiratory expert at China’s Peking University First Hospital, told the newspaper.
“Using vaccines to curb the epidemic is to generate herd immunity. But it works only when about 60-70 percent of the population are injected with the vaccine – meaning more than 200 million people in the US must be vaccinated in a short period of time,” Wang explained, adding “vaccine efficacy would then take another one to two weeks.”