China second wave: Fresh cases spark panic – expert reveals major problem facing Beijing

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Beijing’s senior medical adviser Zhong Nanshan said the danger of a second wave of infections was looming large. Mainland China reported five new confirmed COVID-19 cases for May 16, down from eight the previous day, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement today.

The majority of Chinese are susceptible to COVID-19 infection because of a lack of immunity

Zhong Nanshan

Mr Zhong said: “The majority of Chinese at the moment are still susceptible to COVID-19 infection because of a lack of immunity.

“We are facing a big challenge, it’s not better than the foreign countries I think at the moment.”

Mr Zhong acknowledged the number of infections were initially under reported in Wuhan but said the government has learned lessons from the SARS epidemic 17 years ago and he thinks all the coronavirus data will have been correct since January 23.

Two of the five confirmed cases were so-called imported infections, while three were locally transmitted in the northeastern Chinese city of Jilin.

The number of confirmed cases in the mainland now stands at 82,947 and the death toll at 4,634.

China does not include people who have been tested and found to be asymptomatic carriers in its tally of confirmed cases.

The three domestically-transmitted cases are related to a district in Jilin city called Fengman, which has been classified by Chinese officials as a high-risk area for COVID-19.

Heightened disease control measures in the district include allowing only one person from a family to go out and purchase daily necessities each day.

Residents were advised not to leave the city and any who do need to leave must provide a negative test result taken within the previous 48 hours.

Jilin is the second largest city of Jilin province, which borders North Korea and Russia. It temporarily suspended passenger train services last Wednesday.

Fengman district said they would tighten the lockdown by closing stores including department stores, house appliance stores and furniture stores but will keep supermarkets open to maintain supply to residents.

The city of Wuhan, where the new coronavirus outbreak originated in China, conducted 222,675 nucleic acid tests on May 16, the local health authority said today.

Wuhan kicked off a campaign on May 14 to look for asymptomatic carriers – people who are infected but show no outward sign of illness – after confirming last weekend its first cluster of COVID-19 infections since its release from a virtual lockdown on April 8.

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The number of tests carried out on May 16 in the city of 11 million residents was more than the 186,400 tests conducted on May 14-15, and was also the highest since the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission started publishing the data on Feb. 21.

Wuhan is conducting the testing on a voluntary basis.

Residents who were previously tested do not need to participate in the campaign. Those who test positive now will be notified as soon as possible.

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