China was the first country to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. After a 76-day lockdown of Wuhan, where the virus originated, the country appears to be getting back to normalcy. Factories have restarted. Stores are reopening. Crowd on the streets is growing. People are still practicing social distancing and wearing face masks, and the country still has several restrictions in place. But China is facing the risk of a second coronavirus wave.
Imported cases could become a headache for Beijing
China eased restrictions on Wuhan on April 8th. Thousands of people who were stuck in Wuhan for almost three months started traveling to other cities.
A day after lifting the lockdown, China reported 63 new confirmed COVID-19 cases. A staggering 61 of them were people who had entered China from other countries. It has sparked speculations that the country could get hit by a second coronavirus wave.
As of April 20th, there are 2,006 active COVID-19 cases in China, up 121 from the previous day. A total of 4,632 people have died due to the novel coronavirus in China so far.
Suifenhe in northeastern province of Heilongjiang has been locked down for the second time since January. Chinese nationals returning from Russia and other countries could bring the second wave of coronavirus. Suifenhe had no confirmed cases when China locked down much of the country in January. Now it has more than 320 cases.
A wave of new cases have also been confirmed at Jia County People’s Hospital in Henan province. Staff members at the hospital have also been found infected with the virus. What’s more, there could be dozens or hundreds of asymptomatic carriers.
The second coronavirus wave to hit China in November?
China’s leading medical expert Zhang Wenhong has warned that China and other countries could get hit by a second coronavirus wave in November. Wenhong leads the COVID-19 clinical expert team in Shanghai. Even if countries manage to bring the pandemic under control, there would be a “second wave” in China and other countries during winter.
Fortunately, China has learned a lot from the first wave. So, the country will be in a better position to control the second wave. The COVID-19 prevention and control measures will “go through periods of relaxation and tightening” for a long time. It might be difficult to fully eliminate the outbreak.
China’s GDP contracts in March quarter
Chinese economy has suffered heavy losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the country’s first-quarter GDP declined 6.8% compared to the same quarter a year ago. It’s the first time China’s GDP has contracted in about four decades.
The origin of COVID-19 remains a mystery. Some say it originated in the wet markets of Wuhan. Other argue the virus came out of the virology lab in China. Beijing is going the extra mile to prevent a thorough and transparent investigation into its origins.