China’s tough lockdown and physical detachment efforts in Wuhan and other provinces appear to have successfully ended new locally transmitted coronavirus infections and could represent a way back to normal life, according to a report from Imperial College London.
The report by Prof. Neil Ferguson and his team, who were the main modelers of the epidemic for Britain and other governments, suggests that it is possible to lift the physical distance restrictions that China started without the US again revive epidemic.
“In these difficult times, these results suggest that carefully curbed and monitored loosening of effective locks on a large scale could be possible before an effective vaccine is available,” said Prof. Christl Donnelly of Imperial and Oxford Universities from the team.
Ferguson said her analysis “gives hope to countries that are currently at different levels of barriers that it may be possible to relax social detachment once the number of cases is brought down to a low level, provided that equal measures are introduced, to limit the risk of resuscitation of the transmission. ” .
However, he stressed that the relaxation of the blocking guidelines would depend on “quick and pervasive testing and strict guidelines for isolating cases and contacts”. That would mean testing everyone with symptoms and tracking and isolating their contacts to eradicate more flare-ups.
According to the report, low-level economic activity in China and Hong Kong has started again without any significant outbreaks. The analysis shows that “a medium level of local activity can be maintained while avoiding a large outbreak,” the report said.
The results do not rule out further epidemics in China, nor do they estimate how safe normal life is. “However, they do suggest that after a very intense social distancing that led to containment, China has successfully completed its strict policy of social distancing to some extent.”
The report adds: “China is at an advanced stage of the pandemic worldwide. Guidelines to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in China and subsequent exciting strategies can affect country decision-making once containment is achieved. “