Professor Li Lanjuan says ‘imported cases could trigger another large-scale epidemic’
Beijing’s leading health official has warned of a new coronavirus outbreak in China stemming from “imported cases” that “could trigger another large-scale epidemic.”
Professor Li Lanjuan, a member of China’s expert team on the Chinese virus, is warning that the nation is facing a second outbreak due to the increasing number of infections detected among new arrivals from abroad.
Voicing her concerns of a second wave of COVID-19, Prof. Li says she is “very worried that imported cases could trigger another large-scale epidemic in our country.”
Her comment came after health officials reported the country’s first case of someone who is believed to have contracted the disease, known as COVID-19, from another person returning from abroad.
It also came as life in former epicenter Wuhan is slowly returning to normal following a two-month draconian lockdown.
Professor Li, 73, told China News today that the control and prevention of imported cases was an ‘arduous’ task for medical workers.
“This requires us to continue to intensify our efforts and work tirelessly to prevent the coronavirus pneumonia epidemic from spreading in other cities,” Li said.
Prof. Li has led her medical team to fight the virus in Wuhan for more than 50 days.
She told state newspaper People’s Daily in Wuhan: “The mission in Wuhan has not been accomplished, and there are still many critical patients.
“Furthermore, I think the current situation in our country is very tough.
“[I am] very worried that imported cases could trigger another large-scale epidemic in our country.
“Can we make every effort to guard our country and prevent another epidemic from happening? This is a tough challenge.”
She also demanded officials identify those who were struck down by the virus but have not been officially diagnosed.
She warned that they could re-ignite the epidemic.
Doctors in Guangzhou, the provincial capital of Guangdong, have diagnosed a coronavirus patient who fell ill after having close contact with a person entering China from Turkey.
This is the first coronavirus case in the country with a direct link to an imported case.
The Guangzhou Municipal Health Commission called it “a case related to an imported case” in a statement yesterday.
The 54-year-old man, known by his surname Jin, experienced muscle pain and a lack of strength on March 17.
He was hospitalized on March 20 with a slight fever and tested positive the next day.
Mr. Jin was in close contact with another confirmed case, 34-year-old Ms. Lin, who stayed in Istanbul from January 22 to March 8 on a business trip.
Ms. Lin flew back to Guangzhou on March 9 via Bangkok.
She did not show any symptoms upon entering the country and stayed at home most of the time afterward.
She was diagnosed on March 21 after the city’s infectious disease authority gave her a test.
People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party, warned of the emergence of Mr. Jin’s case.
In explaining its significance, the newspaper quoted health experts from Guangzhou and said: “Cases related to imported cases are the second-generation cases brought in from abroad.
“It means the close contacts of [the imported cases] have been transmitted and fallen ill.”
The official outlet urged all cities to put those arriving from virus-hit countries under 14-day mandatory quarantine even if they don’t show symptoms.
Those arriving from other countries should self-isolate for two weeks, the paper said.
Chinese health officials today reported no new local cases of the deadly virus but confirmed another 39 infections brought from overseas.
Worldwide, more than 14,740 people have been killed by the contagion and over 340,000 people have been infected.