Beijing has reported zero new COVID-19 infections for 10 consecutive days as of Thursday, with Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), saying that the latest outbreak in the Chinese capital city has been basically reined in, predicting that the epidemic situation in the country will return to its previous status, with mainly individual imported cases being recorded.
Within China, sporadic cases may emerge, but it is highly unlikely that city-level lockdown measures would take place again, the expert told the Global Times on Thursday.
The latest COVID-19 outbreak occurred in Beijing after a case connected to the Xinfadi wholesale market was reported on June 11.
China will not witness another severe COVID-19 outbreak similar to the one in Wuhan, Wu said, noting that the current epidemic control and prevention measures China is taking are capable of reining in the epidemic situation at relatively low levels.
According to Wu, his confidence comes from two main achievements China has made in terms of effective epidemic response.
In January and February, none of the provincial level regions in the Chinese mainland reported more than 2,000 confirmed cases apart from Central China's Hubei Province, which was hardest hit by the epidemic in China, due to timely prevention and control measures.
And the containing of the spread of the virus in Northeast China and the Xinfadi-related outbreak in Beijing again fully proved the effectiveness of such measures, he noted.
However, Wu pointed out that China is still facing grave challenges, as the cause of cluster infections in the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan and Xinfadi market in Beijing has yet to be determined, and the pressure of fending off an influx of confirmed cases from overseas remain significant.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic is well under control in countries such as China, Japan and Italy, the global situation continues to worsen, especially in countries such as the US, Brazil and India.
The US could soon record as many as 100,000 new cases per day if the current trajectory of the outbreak is not changed, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, warned, US media reported in June.
"China will long be facing threats of an influx of imported cases unless every country clears its local infections," Wu said, calling the threat the gravest challenge to China's pandemic control work.
Wearing face masks, frequent hand washing and proper ventilation are the most effective ways for individuals to prevent being infected by the novel coronavirus, Wu suggested.