China’s COVID-19 response: the ‘most ambitious, agile, and aggressive disease containment effort in history’

In contrast to Chinese intellectuals and many internet users who are furious about the government’s delays and mistakes in the COVID-19 response, the World Health Organization is heaping praise on Beijing.

WHO’s assessment of the COVID-19 situation in Wuhan and around China, published on February 28, begins:

In the face of a previously unknown virus, China has rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile, and aggressive disease containment effort in history…

China’s bold approach to contain the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and deadly epidemic.

For more on the WHO report, see:

Provincial governments continue to declare success in their containment of COVID-19. Reuters reports that the provinces of Yunnan, Guangdong, Shanxi, and Guizhou have followed the lead of Zhejiang Province and lowered their coronavirus emergency response measures. Shanghai and Guangdong have both announced 14-day quarantine measures for new arrivals from unspecified high-risk foreign countries to prevent a resurgence of infections.

However, asymptomatic patients are reportedly not being counted in official tallies, despite those patients being contagious, Caixin reports, citing evidence from Heilongjiang Province. While Chinese representatives to WHO argue that this is no problem, Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology and immunology at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Caixin that this “shows that [COVID-19] may be even more widespread and difficult to contain than we think.”

—Lucas Niewenhuis