Latest outbreak likely caused by foreign source
The recent COVID-19 cases in Anhui and Liaoning provinces have contracted the virus via individuals or articles from abroad, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The actual infection source of COVID-19 cases in Anhui and Liaoning is still under investigation, said Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist with China CDC, on Thursday.
As there were no local transmissions recently, the virus must have come from infected individuals or contaminated articles from abroad, he said.
“The genetic sequence of the COVID-19 viruses found in the Anhui and Liaoning cases were the same. We believe the cases were along the same transmission chain,” Wu said.
Considering the result of screening tests in the two provinces, the infection scale will not be as serious as earlier this year, he said.
The Chinese mainland on Wednesday reported one new locally transmitted COVID-19 case in Liaoning Province, according to the National Health Commission’s report on Thursday.
A total of 11 new imported cases were seen the same day on the mainland.
More than 449.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in China as of Wednesday, the NHC said on Thursday.
CDC expert Shao Yiming said that preliminary studies had proved the vaccines currently in use in China are effective against the coronavirus variant recently detected in India.
China has been paying close attention to the emerging variant of the coronavirus found in India, and is conducting research and accumulating data, he told reporters.
The virus will continue mutating, therefore more changes will appear, said Shao.
Once the current vaccines become ineffective against new COVID-19 strains, the inactivated vaccines developed by China will offer a quick solution as their production techniques will need no adjustment, Shao added. He said that China is capable of putting new, effective vaccines into use if new variants render current vaccines ineffective.
But Wu Zunyou advised people to continue wearing face masks even after being vaccinated.
Wu said that vaccination is a biological method to prevent the disease while masks and social distancing are public health measures aimed at prevention and control.
The two aspects are compatible with each other, not exclusive, the expert said, noting that before herd immunity against the virus is built up among the public, masks are still necessary.
Wu made the remarks in response to a question about some foreign sources claiming that masks are no longer needed after inoculation. There were also concerns that wearing masks for extended periods may result in respiratory problems.
“Wearing a mask brings only benefits to the individual as well as their family and society,” Wu said.