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Targeted measures against virus gaining international attention

Tuesday,Jul 21, 2020

Since June 11, when a cluster of COVID-19 cases was discovered at Xinfadi wholesale food market, Beijing has brought the outbreak under control with zero new domestically transmitted cases recorded.

In reports by international media, Beijing offers a valuable lesson for other countries grappling with the virus.

Wang Huiyao, the founder and president of the think tank Center for China and Globalization(CCG),wrote in an opinion piece in the South China Morning Post: "Beijing's experience shows we can tame second waves in a way that minimizes disruption."

"Beijing's response points to two key ingredients. The first is data. Data enabled Beijing to test nearly 2.3 million residents within a week and notified at-risk citizens by text message," Wang wrote. "Responsive social mechanisms are the second ingredient of a calibrated response. Government, the private sector and nonprofits collaborated to gather, disseminate and act on data."

He said that Beijing has developed an immune system of structures and mechanisms that can spring into action when needed.

In a report from Bloomberg, a New York-based news agency known for providing business and economic information to investors, Beijing's more targeted measures were lauded. The targeted testing has an "unprecedented speed", it said. "Beijing authorities just locked down apartment blocks and housing compounds close to the epicenter or in the high-risk areas rather than confining everyone to their homes … It's an approach that other countries are also looking at."

CNN reporters wrote in a news story published on its website: "Efforts to contain the outbreak in Beijing appear to have been successful so far-demonstrating again the effectiveness of lockdowns, social distancing and mask wearing combined with widespread testing."

Tom Cheshire, Asia correspondent of British free-to-air television news channel Sky News, noted in his story that Beijing's effective containment of the virus can be traced to three factors. "The most critical aspect is speed. Beijing did not hesitate in shutting schools and imposing various restrictions on venues."

Contact-tracing programs backed up by big data and neighborhood health committees knocking on doors to make sure people follow instructions also played their parts in the battle, he added.

Elsewhere in the world, Beijing's quick response to the latest COVID-19 cases received praise too.

Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, a professor of virology at the University of Hamburg, told Deutsche Welle, a German State-funded media agency, that the return of COVID-19 cases in Beijing doesn't mean the start of a second wave. Beijing remains cautious in bid to prevent the next wave.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta, a Russian daily newspaper, posted an opinion piece on June 17 noting that Beijing has placed restrictions within a small range, which enables the normal functioning of its enterprises. It said in the fight against COVID-19, Beijing has developed the accuracy of a surgeon.

From China Daily,2020-07-21
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