China is imposing another lockdown on more than 100 million citizens as Beijing tries to avoid another outbreak while the country’s top immunologist issues a dire warning: A lack of herd immunity could be a mass killer in the communist nation.
Cities in the Chinese province of Jilin cut off transportation and ordered quarantines on thousands of people as officials worried a cluster of 34 infections could balloon, according to Bloomberg. The lockdowns came as Chinese officials boasted about the country’s successful response to coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, and has killed more than 320,000 people worldwide.
Chinese health officials suspect the patients might have come into contact with infected people returning from Russia.
“Imported cases from overseas and clustered infections domestically have created dual pressure on us in containing the virus,” Wang Bin, a National Health Commission official, said during a briefing on Sunday.
China’s top immunologist Zhong Nanshan is warning that China’s lack of herd immunity puts citizens at serious risk.
“The majority of … Chinese at the moment are still susceptible of the COVID-19 infection, because [of] a lack of immunity,” Zhong said during a CNN interview that aired Sunday. “We are facing [a] big challenge, it’s not better than the foreign countries I think at the moment.”
The restrictions are harsh. The Shulan government, a city located in Jilin, said Monday on one of China’s social media platforms that it would close off residential compounds containing suspected COVID-19 cases, allowing only one person from each family to leave for two hours at a time to collect groceries or other essentials.
Citizens are noticing the changes.
“You can feel that control is stricter,” Shen Jia, a salesman at a life science company in the city, told Bloomberg. People “have been more careful and reduced outdoor activities.” (RELATED: Epidemiologist’s Video On Coronavirus ‘Herd Immunity’ Had 1.3 Million Views, Until YouTube Removed It)
China has so far reported more than 80,000 coronavirus cases and a death toll of at least 4,633, according to data from the country’s National Health Commission (NHC). U.S. officials and world leaders believe China is not being transparent about the country’s number of COVID-19 deaths or the number of cases it dealt with during the December 2019 outbreak in Wuhan.
The intelligence community reportedly sent a report to the Trump administration in April explaining how Beijing consistently under-reports the number of coronavirus cases. Coronavirus task force member Dr. Deborah Birx, for her part, criticized China for not providing the rest of the world with timely data.
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