The Chinese city where the epidemic began and that defeated the virus in May 2020 rearms its security after seven cases of the Delta variant emerge
The “safest city in the world”, as Wuhan has been called since the last case of coronavirus was extinguished in May 2020, returns to the nightmare. The authorities notified this Tuesday the existence of seven infections – three of them symptomatic – corresponding to the Delta variant, the hurricane that has exploded the Asian paradise by infecting 400 people only in the last twenty days.
Viral transmission has forced the reestablishment of the entire arsenal of sanitary measures that the Chinese had practically relegated to their worst memories. Masks, confinements and massive PCR tests are once again the order of the day in twelve provinces and in Beijing, where the population has been called to confine themselves. The leisure and cultural sectors have recovered the masks and require a vaccination certificate from users.
The Asian giant almost completely eradicated the coronavirus in the spring of 2020, with the consequent astonishment for the rest of the planet, plunged into a hell that has taken more than four million lives today. The success was attributed to an exhaustive control and a policy of ‘zero tolerance’, a battery of measures that left little room for citizens to catch or spread the disease.
Wuhan, the city of four million where the global epidemic began in December 2019, spent 76 days in total lockdown. That is why ghosts return to their streets. The Xi Jinping government is concerned that an incendiary expansion of the Delta variant will ruin social calm, recovered routines and the revival of the economy. Suffice it to say that in the first three months of this year, industrial production increased by 35.1% and retail sales by 33.8%.
The first cases occurred in mid-July in a group of cleaning workers at the Nanjing airport. The hypothesis is that they were infected while cleaning a plane from Russia, where the pandemic is raging (22,000 new patients and 800 deaths this Tuesday). The trail of the variant continued to Yangzhou, where 40 cases emerged in one day. And so on until it spread to twelve provinces, almost half of all those that make up China. This breadth is the most worrying because it indicates a remarkable spread of the native Indian mutation.
In these last two cities, which add more than ten million residents, and in others such as Zhuzhou, the tourist Zhangjiajie or Wuhan itself, up to two and three PCR test campaigns have been carried out, limited mobility and ordered confinements where only one person you can go out once a day to make urgent purchases. The ‘zero tolerance’ strategy that has not been applied in the West since the crudest moments of the epidemic.
The effectiveness of vaccines
Although the authorities seem to have created a retaining wall – 400 infections in a country of 1,400 million inhabitants – the discouragement is spreading. According to the WHO, a fortnight of Asian countries suffer symptoms of a new viral wave. If the escalation in overcrowded China were to be similar to that of those regions, or to that of the United States, absolutely skyrocketing, some virologists predict an epidemiological bomb. In some health environments there is also some concern about the flow of the pandemic. The current outbreaks would reflect their power to circulate back and forth between East and West in a closed circuit way thanks to the new strains and the asymmetry in vaccinations.
Precisely, the difference in China may now lie in the serums. It has applied 1,650 million doses; all of them of national patent. 60% of the population is immunized and there is expectation to verify the efficacy of indigenous antivirals against the most aggressive variants of Covid-19. Europe is in the dark, as it has not validated any of these drugs, but it is also watching with great interest the Chinese fight against the Delta threat.