Some 108 million people in northeast China face renewed lockdown as a new cluster of coronavirus infections ravages the region while the People's Republic aims to prevent a second wave, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
Tens of thousands were reportedly quarantine in China's Jilin province bordering Russia and North Korea. According to Bloomberg, trains and buses have been cut and schools have been shut down.
The Guardian reported Tuesday the city of Shulan was sealed off after being reclassified as high-risk. According to the Guardian, the China Daily began referring to the city as "the last pandemic hotspot in the country."
According to Bloomberg, the government of Shulan announced it would close off residential compounds with confirmed or suspected cases, allowing one member of each family leave the compounds for two hours every two days in order to purchase essentials.
"The majority of Chinese at the moment are still susceptible to the COVID-19 infection," Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan told CNN last week, adding that the republic is facing "a big challenge."
A Harvard University study published in the journal Science in mid April suggested a resurgence of the deadly virus was possible as late as 2024, saying social distancing may be required as late as 2022 in order to combat the outbreak.
According to the scientists, SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the deadly COVID-19 disease, is capable of producing a "substantial outbreak" regardless of the season in all modeled scenarios. As of May 2020, the mortality rate of the virus stands at 6.6% with nearly five million confirmed cases worldwide.
"Even in the event of apparent elimination, SARS-CoV-2 surveillance should be maintained since a resurgence in contagion could be possible as late as 2024," the scientists said in their report.
According to the researchers, it is likely that short-term, 40-week immunity to the virus will lead to annual coronavirus outbreaks. If the immunity is long-term, standing at two years, the outbreaks will likely be biennial, with a major coronavirus outbreak occurring every other year.
CNN reported Monday around a hundred UN member states, including Russia, were expected to back a resolution at the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA) calling for an independent inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chinese President Xi Jinping himself supported the initiative to investigate the origins of the coronavirus pandemic speaking at the World Health Organization's (WHO) annual meeting of the WHA, according to Forbes.
Drafted by EU member states following a proposal by Australia, a WHA resolution reportedly called for an "impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation" of the "international health response to COVID-19." According to Forbes, the resolution was backed by over 120 states.
According to CNN, Xi said the people's republic "supports the idea of a comprehensive review of the global response to COVID-19 after it is brought under control to sum up experience and address deficiencies," adding that it should be "based on science and professionalism, led by WHO and conducted in an objective and impartial manner."