Wang Hesheng, deputy director of the National Health Commission (NHC) and director of the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration (CDC), said at a press conference on Monday that the current epidemic is at a high level and will not end in the near future. China will continue to face the epidemic prevention and control situation dominated by omicron virus strain in many areas at the same time, and the prevention and control situation is becoming increasingly severe and complex. We should continue to strengthen the priority work of epidemic prevention and control, bring local clusters of cases under control as soon as possible, and realize the "dynamic elimination" of social gatherings as soon as possible.
Talking about the characteristics of this round of COVID-19 epidemic, Wang Hesheng said that since December 2021, the global COVID-19 epidemic has entered the fourth wave peak. Now, the number of reported cases has exceeded 10 million every week for 11 consecutive weeks, and it is still at a high epidemic level. Especially since the beginning of this year, the epidemic situation in neighboring countries and regions has risen rapidly, and the "pressure difference" between China and the epidemic level has been increasing.
"In January-February this year, 91 cases were imported every day for several days, up from 22 cases in 2020 and 32 cases in 2021. Since March this year, the daily number of imported cases has exceeded 200, with the daily maximum exceeding 300. It can be said that the pressure of imported cases has increased significantly recently." Wang Hesheng said.
Wang Hesheng also pointed out that the recent global epidemic of omicron variants, especially the BA.2 subbranch, is more transmissibility and occult than the previous virus strains, making it more difficult to detect early, which leads to the epidemic has often affected a certain range when it is discovered, and the epidemic disposal and control are more difficult. In addition, this year in late February to coincide with lunar New Year holiday is over, the spring semester students, corporate workers return to work, and so on, the staff of mass flow, combined with the conference training, weddings and other kinds of personnel aggregation activity increases, can become the outbreak of the "transmission" and "amplifier", leading to the outbreak spread, even spread across regions.
"At the same time, the traceability results also show that the recent local clusters of epidemic cases in China were all caused by imported sources. Since the omicron variant strain is mainly infected with mild and asymptomatic symptoms, the imported sources are more hidden and the modes of transmission are more diverse. In addition, there are multiple transmission chains in many places and complicated sources of the epidemic, which poses a huge challenge to tracing the source and preventing and controlling the epidemic." Wang Hesheng said.
Wang Hesheng pointed out that the next step, the national health committee will jointly with relevant departments, continue to strengthen the focus of the epidemic prevention and control work, local clustering of epidemic under control as soon as possible, firmly hold "outside the input" line of defense, guide the outbreak in key areas to speed up the screening and the risk screening nucleic acid, mixed flow controls, as soon as possible social "dynamic reset".
In addition, remote prevention and control should be carried out before entry, closed-loop management of personnel should be highlighted, and monitoring coverage of key personnel should be expanded. Consolidate the responsibility of the special port squad, strengthen the river, coastline patrol and epidemic prevention forces. Regular epidemic prevention and control management will be implemented in key locations and regions. Guide schools, nursing homes, prison and other key places, transportation stations, commercial supermarkets and other crowded places, cold chain, commercial supermarkets, logistics and other employees to strictly implement epidemic prevention measures.
Wang also stressed the need to further improve the level of scientific and targeted prevention and control, strictly implement the pre-check, triage and first-diagnosis responsibility system, improve the multi-point trigger early warning mechanism, promote the "antigen screening, nucleic acid diagnosis" monitoring model, guide local scientific and targeted prevention and control, to minimize the impact on economic and social development.