China has reportedly claimed it has had no new coronavirus deaths and only three imported infectious cases as of last week. Authorities have shut down gyms and swimming pools in Beijing amid fears the country is vulnerable to a second wave of coronavirus. In the city of Harbin, more than 70 people have been infected and over 4,000 are being tested after the virus was believed to be “imported” by a student who had returned from New York, according to state media reports.
Swimming pools, universities gyms and schools are still closed in most provinces.
In Beijing, the owner of a gym told The Sunday Telegraph that: “On April 16, after we passed the inspection, we were able to start a trial operation.
“Then on April 18, they suddenly asked us to close again.
“I felt very frustrated. We just saw hope, but then it was gone, and we could not operate again.”
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After accusing countries like the United States and South Korea of acting sluggishly to contain the spread, the news of a second wave or lingering first wave puts a large dent in Beijing’s propaganda which is the unequivocal leader in the global fight against the virus.
State media may paint the picture the nation has triumphed but from the financial hub of Shanghai to the northern province of Heilongjiang strict rules and regulations are in place until a vaccine can be found.
With Chinese experts concluding that the virus cannot be eradicated, government officials are focused on keeping infections to a manageable level to avoid catastrophic surges that overwhelm hospitals.
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For instance, in Shenzhen, which is home to 461 infections, port authorities said that as of Tuesday, anyone entering the city through one of its ports must undergo quarantine.
Since late last month, all international arrivals to the city have had to undergo a nucleic acid test for the virus as well 14 days of quarantine.
As virologists cast doubt that a vaccine will be developed quickly, it usually takes six to ten years, cities around the world may have to emmulate what is happening at present in China.
They would slowly open and some freedoms will be returned, but on a short leash, if experts’ recommendations are followed.
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Testing and physical tracing will become part of our lives in the short term, but in many countries, an abrupt instruction to self-isolate could come at any time.
Treatments may be developed, but outbreaks of the disease could still occur each year, and the global death toll would continue to tick upwards.
Official stats in China have recorded more than 82,000 cases and a total of 4,633 deaths.
The country has begun to gradually reopen after months of paralysis.
Last week 50,000 high school students in their third year, the most important for preparing for the national university entrance exam known as the gaokao, returned to class in Beijing, under strict social distancing measures.
Other cities and provinces have announced various dates for reopening schools, but as yet life is not expected to return to pre-pandemic norms any time soon.
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