While the US surpassed China in terms of most infection cases, Italy and Spain both went past the East Asian country with their rising death toll due to the Coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak. As per National Health Commission of China, the country reported 45 new coronavirus cases in the mainland for March 28, down from 54 on the previous day.
While the number of so-called imported cases fell from 54 on the previous day in China, another affected country South Korea has reported 146 new cases of the coronavirus and five more deaths, bringing its totals to 9,478 cases and 144 deaths, which is still lesser than other countries.
While China relaxed the Coronavirus lockdown in Hubei region, South Korean authorities pleaded the residents on Friday, March 27, to stay indoors and avoid large gatherings as new coronavirus cases hovered close to 100 per day, including multiple people working on a US military base in the Asian country.
Even though both the countries are said to have passed the peak of the Coronavirus outbreak, the risk of a second wave of the virus still remains. It will be too risky to avoid or soften precautionary measures at this point. In this regard, there are three major factors which could trigger another Coronavirus outbreak in both countries.
Recovered patients are testing positive
As of now, more than 142,100 people have recovered from the respiratory illness which has killed over 30,000 people in the world. Meanwhile, doctors identified that some of the recovered patients have started to test positive after initially testing negative when they were discharged from the hospital facilities.
A recent report revealed that data accumulated from Wuhan showed five to 10 percent of the recovered patients tested positive again down the line. As reported by NPR, a Wuhan doctor who tested positive after a second test said that the healthcare authorities are not counting asymptomatic cases which could lower the actual number of coronavirus cases in the country.
It should be noted that the problem with these recovered patients is that in most of the mild cases the Coronavirus symptoms can take days or weeks to appear. When infected people start interacting with other individuals, it opens up the possibility of more infections. In terms of China, which is now allowing people to enter the city of Wuhan, the initial epicentre of the outbreak, it is now critical to quickly identify individuals that may be infected by the virus after recovering from it.
People visiting Asia
In the past several days, South Korea and China started to see an increased number of coronavirus cases directly linked to the foreigners travelling to these Asian countries and testing positive.
It should be noted that currently, the US has 124,686 COVID-19 cases, while Italy is suffering to deal with the outbreak that killed more than 10,000 people in the European country. Now, as per the recent data, the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak has shifted from China to Europe.
People from the countries in Europe and US have been travelling to South Korea for its efficient COVID-19 testing and medical centres. South Korean residents said that they fear when they notice an individual from outside carrying trolley bags. Due to the surge in foreign travellers existing medical centres are currently overloaded which leaves a possibility of a second wave of Coronavirus.
While China has blocked most of the foreign nationals from entering the country, other countries like Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea are likely to follow a similar approach.
Reduction in mask users
While using the mask is very common in China and other Asian countries, virologists and scientists in recovering countries have revealed that the biggest problem in the US and Europe is the ignorance towards wearing masks.
As per Science, George Gao, director-general of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "The big mistake in the US and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren't wearing masks. This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role—you've got to wear a mask because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth."
The new wave of Coronavirus
Li Lanjuan, a member of Beijing's expert team on the Coronavirus who led the medical staff to fight against the COVID-19 in Wuhan said that the control and prevention of imported Coronavirus cases was an 'arduous' task for healthcare workers. She also added, "This requires us to continue to intensify our efforts and work tirelessly to prevent the coronavirus pneumonia epidemic from spreading in other cities."
As per 73-year-old Prof Li, cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hangzhou have very frequent international communications. Now, she is worried that "imported cases could trigger another large-scale epidemic in our country."