On Monday, April 13, 2020, China had once again experienced a six-week record-high on new coronavirus cases, which prompted fears of a second COVID-19 wave within the country. A total of 108 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Sunday, which is 11 cases more than the previous day and marking the highest recorded number of cases since March.
March 5 saw the recent highest daily report of coronavirus cases at 143. The resurgence of cases is said to be caused by the increase in travelers infected with the virus coming into the country. This highlights the struggles Beijing is faced with in the containment of the virus and the prevention of a second wave.
Just over a week ago, the residents of Wuhan, which is said to be the origin of the virus, finally emerged from their homes after being on lockdown for months. Wuhan’s reopening felt like a ray of hope not just for China, but for other countries dealing with the pandemic as well. The reopening of Wuhan, coupled with the decrease in daily reported coronavirus cases, may have prompted the Chinese government to relax restrictions within the country.
The loosening of restrictions is believed to be what had caused the resurgence in the daily reported cases. It was confirmed by the National Health Commission that of the 108 new cases, 98 of them were from people entering China from another country.
Beijing now fears that infected people coming into the country could cause another wave of outbreaks. In fact, Heilongjiang province, the northeastern part of the country that borders Russia, had reported 56 new cases, and 49 of them were from the neighboring country.
This prompted the cities near the border to tighten their border controls and quarantine measures for the arriving travelers. More than that, the cities of Suifenhe and Harbin, the latter being the capital of Heilongjiang, announced that all new overseas arrivals would be required to undergo a 28-day quarantine period and take nucleic and antibody tests.
Experts say that lockdowns all around the world should not be lifted completely, and restrictions shouldn’t be relaxed until a vaccine could be developed. The restrictions China had imposed may seem severe and excessive, but that is what had helped the country slow the spread of the virus.
Joseph T. Wu of the University of Hong Kong together with his team conducted a study assessing the first wave of COVID-19 after the control measures were imposed said that cases could resurge if the restrictions are lifted saying, “While these control measures appear to have reduced the number of infections to very low levels, without herd immunity against COVID-19, cases could easily resurge as businesses, factory operations, and schools gradually resume and increase social mixing, particularly given the increasing risk of imported cases from overseas as COVID-19 continues to spread globally.”
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