Xinjiang's virus patient count passes 560, Wuhan expert predicts control in two weeks

Saturday, August 01, 2020

The latest coronavirus outbreak in northwestern Xinjiang may have reached an inflection point, medical experts told the Global Times.
Xinjiang reported 112 new confirmed patients on Thursday, 30 of whom were former asymptomatic carriers. It reported zero new asymptomatic patients that day, the local government said on Friday.
On Friday, Xinjiang reported 31 more infected, national health officials said Saturday.
The decrease of new asymptomatic cases shows to some extent that Xinxiang's epidemic situation is improving, virologists said. There is a large probability that the local epidemic will be basically under control within one or two weeks, estimated Yang Zhanqiu, a professor at the pathogen biology department under Wuhan University.
The number of new confirmed patiennts in Xinjiang may not increase in the coming days with local timely epidemic control efforts, Yang told the Global Times on Friday.
In the capital city Urumqi, where 520 of Xinjiang's total of 523 cases have been reported since the latest outbreak began on July 16, the local government has carried out a compulsory home quarantine for all residents to reduce the virus transmission risks, said the Urumqi health authority.
Urumqi also started citywide nucleic acid testing on July 17. It had reported one confirmed and three asymptomatic cases on July 16 after months of zero new patients.
Xinjiang's response to this round of the virus outbreak has been fast and targeted, Yang said. Now the key thing is to figure out the cause of infection for the region's first patient in the latest outbreak, he noted.
This outbreak may come under control before long if the virus that infected this patient originated in China, Yang said. 
But the situation will be more complicated if this COVID-19 [type] was imported from overseas, as it may not be picked up by China's nucleic acid testing, Yang said. "We should not take it lightly," he added.