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December 7, 2021

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Quarantine adequate for new cases

SHANGHAI’S quarantine measures are good enough to cope with the high risk of imported COVID-19 cases despite the spread of the Omicron variant worldwide, a leading expert of the coronavirus prevention team in the city said yesterday.

Shanghai is facing the biggest risk of COVID-19 cases from overseas, said Wu Fan, deputy dean of Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University.

The city has reported 2,469 imported cases, accounting for a fourth of the nation’s total, since February 18, 2020, compared with only 52 local cases.

Shanghai is implementing a “14+7” health management measure, which means two weeks of central quarantine along with an additional week of home quarantine.

“There is no existing evidence to prove the ultra-long incubation period of the coronavirus,” said Wu. “It is unscientific to prolong the quarantine period without limits, which will largely increase social costs.”

Shanghai’s Pudong and Hongqiao international airports saw the arrival of 47,000 international flights last year, bringing 1.9 million travelers to the city, ranking top among domestic cities.

The Shanghai port handled the world’s largest number of 43.5 million standard containers in 2020, posing additional pressures against the coronavirus transmitted through the global supply chain.

The city has a high-quality disease control and prevention team, which has developed an “accurate prevention” network, Wu said.

Shanghai has created a multi-tier epidemiological investigation team, which collects samples within two hours, completes core information investigation within four hours, as well as tracks down all related people, conduct control measures and finish disinfection within a day, she claimed.

“They aim is to minimize the impact of the operation on the city,” Wu said.

During an outbreak in Huangpu District in January, Wu led an epidemiological investigation team to trace more than 100 close contacts, some 3,300 high-risk people, 30-plus ride-hailing taxis and 22 restaurants and potential risk sites within 15 hours.

The much-publicized epidemiological investigation concealed the age, gender, job and other sensitive information about the subjects, while residents were allowed to bring their pets to the central quarantine hotels.

Shanghai is also developing broad-spectrum antibody drugs, which can not only treat COVID-19 but also hepatitis and other diseases, said Wu, who is also the head of the city’s research institute of major infectious diseases and biosafety.

Furthermore, a vaccination research project named X-Vaccine has also been initiated, which features a vaccine research and development technological platform for possible future epidemics.

“The institute will become a pool for professionals, technologies and scientific innovations to help the city to cope with the next public health risk calmly,” Wu added.


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