'Not time for China to lie flat', says Chinese expert as COVID-19 cases spike

The recent rise in coronavirus cases has led to allowing rapid antigen tests for public use and resulted in the dismissal of senior officials for their slack response to the ongoing health crisis.

ANIUpdated: Monday, March 14, 2022, 03:24 PM IST
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File PIC | (Xinhua/Chen Zhonghao)

Amid a rapid resurgence of COVID-19 cases, a top Chinese infectious disease expert said that it is "not time for China to lie flat" and debate over zero-COVID, instead, Beijing should take the period as an opportunity to lay out anti-epidemic strategies that are complete and sustainable.

Shanghai-based renowned infectious disease expert Zhang Wenhong made these remarks in a post on the Chinese social media platform Sina Weibo on Monday. He said that it is "the most difficult period" for China since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Zhang noted that it is "still not time for China to lie flat." "We should have more clearer methods for the future rather than debating over zero-COVID or co-existence," he was quoted as saying by the Chinese state media tabloid Global Times.

"If China reopens quickly at this time, new cases would surge in a short time. The domestic medical system would be overloaded and the society grind to a halt, causing irreparable damages," Zhang further explained.

The recent rise in coronavirus cases has led to allowing rapid antigen tests for public use and resulted in the dismissal of senior officials for their slack response to the ongoing health crisis. The COVID-19 spike, described as the severest outbreak in two years, has forced several major cities to go into lockdowns.

Shenzhen officials imposed a lockdown for one week. Nonessential workers are ordered to stay home and adults have been asked to undergo three P.C.R. tests. On Sunday, China's National Health Commission reported 3,122 new virus cases, a rise from previous totals from 1,524 on Saturday.

The average number of new virus cases in the country has reached 1,370 per day over the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Chinese state media reported that Chinese observers warned local governments to avoid taking extreme measures such as city lockdowns, as they would harm the local economy.

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