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Ma Xiaowei, Director of China's National Health Commission, noted that the current wave of outbreaks is caused by the Delta variant, characterized by fast transmission and rapid replication, making it more difficult to prevent and control.
Ma Xiaowei, Director of China's National Health Commission, told media on Monday that China will strive to control the current COVID-19 epidemic by the end of August to get life back to normal as soon as possible. The deadline at the end of August is related to the upcoming return to school and a series of major events to be organized in some provinces in September.
According to reports by Xinhua News Agency, as of August 14, China has local confirmed cases in 16 provinces and 150 medium and high-risk areas. The upsurge of the epidemic within a short time frame has posed the most severe and complex prevention and control situation in China since 2021, Ma said.
Ma noted that the current wave of outbreaks are all caused by the Delta variant, characterized by fast transmission and rapid replication, which makes it more difficult to prevent and control. Additionally, crowds gathering places such as scenic spots, chess rooms and construction sites play an amplifying role in the epidemic.
Ma mentioned that it is a relief that the current risk of the spread of the epidemic in China is generally controllable. As of August 14, 36 of the 48 cities with outbreaks have reported no new infections for more than six days, with only sporadic cases reported in the rest of the country. Yangzhou city, in East China's Jiangsu Province, is the exception with around a dozen locally transmitted cases still reported.
"Considering that many places have continued to strengthen various preventive measures and have taken stricter control measures on the movement of people, the risk of a large-scale spread of the epidemic at the national level is relatively small," Ma explained.
Amazing progress. Over 1.85 billion doses of #Covid_19 vaccines had been administered in China as of Saturday (1.84 billion as of Friday), according to the country’s National Health Commission. That means China has administered at least 10 million doses in a day! pic.twitter.com/gG0wn4y4hX
In addition to major universities, primary and secondary schools across China will start the new term in September as scheduled. The National Games, China's highest level comprehensive sports event, will also be held in northwest China's Shaanxi Province in mid-September.
Ma noted that currently, China's COVID-19 vaccination work has been progressing in an orderly manner with more than 1.85 billion doses delivered and over 770 million people vaccinated as of last Saturday. The vaccination of minors between the ages of 12 and 17 is also progressing steadily as planned.
Ma said that since the start of the current wave of the epidemic, the National Health Commission has sent 20 working groups across the country to supervise and guide epidemic prevention and control.
"Practice has proved that the measures we have developed are effective. At present, we should pay further attention to the regular epidemic prevention and control and the disposal of outbreak in clusters, adhere to prevention-oriented guidelines, strengthen weak areas and reinforce the prevention and control perspective," he added.