• China is easing lockdowns as the number of new coronavirus cases dwindles.
  • But it remains vigilant to stop a second wave of infections. New measures promote “civilized behaviour”.
  • Social distancing and hygiene measures remain in force.

China has announced new measures to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 infections as it gradually reopens its economy and releases citizens from coronavirus lockdowns.

But as travel and work restrictions are eased, authorities in Beijing have imposed new curbs to prevent a second wave of the virus. People who feel ill must wear a face mask in public, and anyone who doesn’t cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing will be fined.

The laws, designed to promote what Beijing calls “civilized behaviour”, also include a requirement for people to use their own utensils when eating shared meals. Under the new guidelines, eating on public transport is banned.

Public places must mark social distancing lanes to allow people to keep at least 1 metre apart at all times and anyone who spits in public will face a $28 penalty. Citizens are also expected to “dress neatly” and those infringing the rules face fines. New rules go into effect June 1.

Continued vigilance

Social distancing rules remain in place across the country but some tourist attractions are reopening. In Wuhan, once the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, the historic Yellow Crane Tower is due to reopen to visitors this week.

The news came as authorities announced the last coronavirus patients had been discharged from the city’s hospitals. “The latest news is that by 26 April, the number of new coronavirus patients in Wuhan was at zero,” said a National Health Commission spokesman.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.

The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of senior school students in Beijing and Shanghai returned to their classrooms on 27 April amid stringent hygiene measures including wearing face masks, reduced class sizes and staggered mealtimes in school canteens.

China has so far has reported nearly 84,000 cases of coronavirus, 78,000 recoveries and 4,637 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. Authorities in Wuhan last Friday said there were 535 suspected cases in the city, all of whom were under medical observation.

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Key figures of novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Greater China.
Image: Statista

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