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Delta variant no cause for panic: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-08-09 19:34

A staff member sprays disinfectant at a COVID-19 testing site in Jiangning district of Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu province, July 24, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation in China has been causing public concern as the highly contagious Delta variant has reached dozens of cities nationwide. The Chinese mainland on Sunday reported 94 new locally transmitted cases, including 41 in Henan province and 38 in Jiangsu province, where the latest outbreak originated in early July.

Yet there is no reason for panic. Chinese medical workers have already determined from scientific studies and experience in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic that the Delta variant has not caused any radical changes in the biological characteristics of the novel coronavirus, and its infection source and transmission routes are basically clear. Despite its fast-spreading nature, the vaccines in use and the prevention and control measures and protocols in place can still protect people from the Delta variant, according to the National Health Commission. 

The fact that an outbreak in Guangdong province in May, also linked to the Delta variant, was quickly brought under control in late June, should serve as a reassurance to people. 

Massive testing, targeted lockdowns, extensive contact tracing and quarantining are again being conducted across the country. Medical experts believe the tried and tested measures are likely to help contain the outbreak within one to two months. But only if they are implemented to the letter. 

Which raises the question of how much vigilance local officials are maintaining against the virus. There is no denying that with the country only suffering sporadic clusters of infections since the epidemic was controlled last year, some local officials have lowered their guard against the virus. This in turn has resulted in a letup in the prevention and control work. This is a somber lesson learned from the latest infections that have been traced to lax prevention and control protocols at the airport in Nanjing. 

That more than 30 officials including a vice-mayor, heads of city districts and health commissions have been fired or have received other punishments for failing to respond properly to the latest wave of the novel coronavirus in the country should serve as a reminder that any relaxing of prevention and control work could have serious consequences and is unforgivable in this life-or-death battle against the virus.

But while strictly implementing quarantine and lockdown measures, steps must be taken to ensure people have access to daily necessities and their basic needs must be guaranteed. Only by doing this can their cooperation be won. The fight against the virus must be fought by everyone.

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