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Dr Zhang Wenhong, a standing committee member of the Infectious Disease Branch of the Chinese Medical Association, has also been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic in Shanghai. He made the claims on Sunday while delivering a speech at Fudan University.
Delivering a speech at Shanghai’s Fudan University on Sunday, Dr Zhang claimed the pandemic was not over yet and that it had not yet reached its peak.
Dr Zhang said: “It is still in the process of continuously spreading, therefore the peak of the pandemic has not arrived by now.”
The infectious disease expert warned that the virus could possibly take “about two years” to bring under control.
He added: “I personally think that the transmission chain of the virus is actually difficult to stop now.
“Globally speaking, the virus may exist forever, but the pandemic will eventually be brought under control.
“Essentially, it will take about two years.”
Despite the alarming figures, China is currently lifting many restrictions in a bid to return to normal.
However, the country still maintains its rules regarding face mask wearing, temperature checks and social distancing.
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Dr Zhang’s statement comes as China announced a new outbreak of COVID-19 cases with the cities of Xinjiang and Hong Kong reporting new clusters of infections.
The autonomous region of Xinjiang has recorded a total of 55 confirmed cases in two cities after a new outbreak appeared in its capital of Urumqi last week.
Urumqi, which has a population of about 3.5million, has cancelled almost all inbound and outbound flights.
One official told a state briefing: “The whole city has entered a ‘wartime state’, and will suspend all kinds of group activities.”
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The latest lockdown restrictions include mass screening on sites where new infections have been identified.
Residents have been advised not to leave the city unless absolutely necessary and they must be tested if they do.
Hong Kong recorded more than 100 cases on Sunday, its highest single-day increase reported since the pandemic began.
The territory’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Hong Kong is set to experience an “out of control” spike in infections.
Ms Lam said: “I think the situation is really critical and there is no sign the situation is being brought under control.”
She imposed even more restrictions, such as plans to make it mandatory to wear face masks inside any public indoor venue.
Ms Lam also brought into force a new decree for non-essential civil servants to work for home.
Globally, more than 14 million coronavirus infections have been recorded, as well as a death toll of over 610,000.
The United States has been the hardest-hit country during the pandemic, with a total of nearly four million confirmed cases.
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