China is vulnerable to another wave of Covid-19 due to lack of immunity, says top health adviser

BEIJING: China still faces a huge challenge from a possible second wave of Covid-19 infections, with a lack of immunity among most Chinese, a leading medical adviser to the country warned.

Dr. Zhong Nanshan, chief medical adviser to the Chinese government on Saturday, was quoted in an exclusive CNN report as saying: Most ... the Chinese at this time are still susceptible to Covid-19 infection, due to (lack ) immunity.

We are facing (a) a great challenge, it is not better than the foreign countries that I create at the moment.

Dr. Zhong is a well-known figure in China who in 2003 was known as the hero of SARS for fighting the epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Even now, Zhong's contribution is seen as central to the country's response.

In addition, it was Dr. Zhong who confirmed in January this year on the state station that Covid-19 can be transmitted between humans.

At first they were silent, and then I said that we probably have a (higher) number of infected people, Zhong said. I didn't believe that result, so (I kept) asking and then, you have to give me the real number.

The coronavirus, which was first detected in the Chinese city so far, has reported 82,000 cases of Covid-19 in the country, with 4,633 deaths, according to data from the country's National Health Commission (NHC).

The Chinese mainland reported six new imported cases of the coronavirus disease on Saturday, bringing the total number of imported cases to 1,698.

Earlier in the day, a health official emphasized the need to improve additional testing capabilities in China. According to the Xinhua news agency, China can perform 1.5 million nucleic acid tests to detect Covid-19 infections every day.

The National Health Commission has asked all qualified and registered medical institutions across the country to conduct nucleic acid tests since late January to address the rapid growth of Covid-19 cases, said Guo Yanhong, an official with the commission.

The next step is to intensify laboratory construction and management, biosafety management and training of medical personnel, the official added.