Dahai ZHAO’s Exclusive Interview with CGTN: Lockdown measures and citywide nucleic acid testing adopt in Xi’an were absolutely necessary
Dahai Zhao, a doctoral supervisor at the School of International and Public Affairs of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Executive Director of Shanghai Jiao Tong University-Yale University Joint Research Center for Health Policy, has been interviewed by CGYN for the 67st time (the 116st time by CGTN / ShanghaiTV) since the COVID-19 pandemic. On December 28, Zhao commented on COVID prevention and control measures in Xi‘an city and prevention and control strategies nationwide on CGTN “China 24”.
Moderate: Professor Zhao, there has been criticism about the city-wide lockdown and the strict epidemic control measures in Xi'an. How necessary are these measures?
ZHAO: I do believe the strict control measures in Xian are really necessary. Two reasons are as followed. First, just because of the lockdown of the city, the most majority of current new confirmed cases in the whole Chinese mainland are limited in Xi’an. Or else, it is very easy to deduce that a large number of new confirmed cases would have been found in a couple of cities in the whole China in a very short period of time. Second, only because of the continuous city-wide nucleic acid testing, more and more new confirmed cases have been found at very early stage of the pandemic. If the city did not conduct the city-wide nucleic acid testing, and only depended on the traditional epidemiologic tracing, tremendous new confirmed cases would have been found in the city. Therefore, compared with the strategy of coexist with the virus in other countries, I do believe the current strict measures in Xian are scientific, cost-effective, people-centered, and the best way to control the pandemic. It is also the reason why China can control the pandemic and most countries can not.
Moderate: China has one of the most, if not, the most rigorous COVID-19 control and prevention protocols, which is why it can control outbreaks. With the Olympics coming up, what else can be done in China to prevent another flareup...or even another pandemic?
ZHAO: First, in terms of the big cities and border areas, strictly preventing the virus from outside of China through imported people or goods is still the most important strategy to prevent the pandemic. All big cities or border areas must not relax the guard, and continue to strictly implement the related policy of preventing the imported virus. After all, it has much higher probability for big cities and border areas than other areas of contacting directly with the people or goods from overseas. Second, all local governments in the whole country will continue to insist the zero clearing strategy, and try to further build the early monitoring and rapid response mechanism for the potential outbreak of COVID-19. Considering both the Chinese Spring Festival holiday and the Olympics are approaching, and the pandemic in the world is still very serious, there are really no reasons for all local governments in China to relax the guard, and they must continue to strictly implement the strategy of curbing imported COVID-19 cases and domestic resurgences.
Contributor: SIPA, SJTU
Date: December 30, 2021