China must rely on mass vaccination among its citizens to ensure an ultra-low level of local COVID-19 cases and welcome a restart and re-opening of the world, prominent Shanghai-based Chinese infectious disease expert Zhang Wenhong said at a medical conference on Sunday.
Zhang concluded that China is now using a "running faster than the virus" approach in COVID-19 combat, thepaper.cn reported. As coronavirus cases could spike in any place in China, the country takes quick actions to get things under control as soon as possible and carry out large scale testing among close contacts or even larger groups, until every case is found.
"If you don't run faster than the virus, it will spread. Once the virus spreads, we need to ask ourselves whether we have enough medical resources to bring the potential pandemic under control," Zhang said.
He believes that some countries in the world have formed their own epidemic strategy, which is based on learning to coexist with the virus, and reduce their respective fatality rates by ensuring critically ill patients receive quick and effective treatments.
Both of these approaches are suitable in their own ways to some extent, Zhang said, noting that people still need to remain vigilant no matter their countries' approach to dealing with the coronavirus.
Zhang also noted that a COVID-19 vaccine is not a "master key." He estimated that not everyone will be able to receive a vaccine when a worldwide vaccine is ready. Instead, the vaccination rate in some countries may only be around 30 percent, or 40 percent, due to lack of resources and production limits.
However, the fatality rate would be lowered if some countries could make sure those high risk people are vaccinated and protected, he said.
"We will begin to welcome the restart of the world when the fatality rate in society drops significantly," Zhang said.