China Daily | First line of defense must be reinforced

The cluster of novel coronavirus infections at Lukou International Airport in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, which has been the fuse for the outbreak of Delta variant infections across the country, has been attributed to the airport staff’s failure to strictly follow COVID-19 containment procedures.
And at a show in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, where a number of tourists in the audience were infected and who then carried the virus to Beijing and several other places, there was little sign the pandemic was taken seriously, either by the theater operator or the audience. That the people watching the show were allowed to sit next to each other was on its own a violation of standard pandemic protocols.
In the Sixth People’s Hospital of Zhengzhou, the outbreak of intra-hospital cross-infections was believed to have to do with staff neglecting to observe pandemic prevention and control protocols amid panic caused by the floodwaters that paralyzed parts of the city.
In Yangzhou, Jiangsu, many of the latest infections were traced to crowded mahjong joints, a favorite haunt for local residents. By Monday, 15 provincial-level regions had reported confirmed or asymptomatic cases in the latest wave of infections, nearly equivalent to the total of the previous five months.
And the chains of infections are far from being cut off. In the 24 hours of Sunday, eight provinces reported 55 confirmed local infections. The virus has spread at such speed that there is a prevailing feeling that unless a way can be found to suppress its current momentum, what was endured in the last nationwide round will need to be repeated.
Such fears are well-grounded. In the United States and several other countries where large-scale vaccination programs gave people considerable confidence to reopen and get back to normal life, local authorities, under pressure from substantial new upticks in infections, are reimposing restrictions such as mask-wearing. At home, neighborhood lockdowns have been put in place in more and more places. In Beijing, where the infections still remain single digit, municipal authorities have locked down a few neighborhoods, decided to upgrade control over the capital’s two international airports, and tightened entry and exit controls.
There is ample scientific evidence that the Delta variant of the virus is more infectious, which means more effective precautions are needed to stop its current spread. The first line of defense and the most effective is continued vigilance, on both the collective and individual levels.
Hopefully, fear of the virus making a comeback will transform into renewed awareness of the importance of strictly implementing the prevention and control measures and maintaining personal safety protocols such as mask wearing and social distancing, and through joint efforts we can prevent a large-scale comeback of the virus. Editorial, China Daily

Categories Opinion