The Chinese authorities have announced that they are lifting the lockdown measures in place for Hubei province, and partially lifting those around Wuhan City.
Prof Sian Griffiths, Emeritus Professor, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and co-chair of the Hong Kong government’s SARS inquiry, said:
“It is good news that the numbers of new cases have reduced so dramatically in Wuhan and that it is possible for restrictions to be lifted. Obvious concerns for public health authorities will be the re-emergence of infection and careful surveillance will be essential , not least of the mild and asymptomatic cases which are more difficult to count. Other parts of China have been concerned about importation of cases from overseas , and this will pose challenges in Wuhan where there are still many cases receiving treatment. Sharing data as the restrictions are relaxed will help other countries with their decisions.”
Prof Andrew Tatem, Professor within Geography and Environmental Science, University of Southampton, said:
“The easing of lockdown restrictions in Hubei and soon in Wuhan offer hope for much of the rest of the world that an end to the stringent control measures can be in sight. Along with a few other countries that have been at the forefront of tackling the disease early, China has provided valuable lessons about how the outbreak can be controlled. Studying what happened in China has shown us what types of interventions can be most effective, when and in what combinations (e.g. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.03.20029843v3).
“The lessons we can next learn from China are about which restrictions can safely be lifted, when, where, for whom, and what still needs to stay in place. While Wuhan suffered a major outbreak, the vast majority of people in China did not contract the disease. This means that the risk of further outbreaks remains very high, especially with so many cases now outside of China and importation becoming a new problem. Making sure that the country doesn’t suffer repeated outbreaks requiring new lockdowns will be a major priority for authorities in China, and the rest of the world should look carefully to see what happens and learn from it.”
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