China could see a 'colossal' COVID outbreak if it lifts restrictions: Study
- The mathematicians used August data from the United States
- According to the report, China's daily new cases would reach at least 637,155 if it adopted the US pandemic strategy
- The mathematicians warned that their estimates were based on simple arithmetic calculations
If China dropped its zero-tolerance policies and lifted travel restrictions, it could record more than 630,000 COVID-19 infections per day, according to a study by Peking University mathematicians.
The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention's report stated that China cannot afford to lift travel restrictions without more effective vaccinations or specific treatments, Reuters reported.
The mathematicians used August data from the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Israel to assess the potential outcomes if China adopted the same pandemic control strategies as those countries.
According to the report, China's daily new cases would reach at least 637,155 if it adopted the US pandemic strategy.
Daily cases would rise to 275,793 if China followed Britain's lead, and 454,198 if it followed France's lead, according to the report.
"The estimates revealed the real possibility of a colossal outbreak which would almost certainly induce an unaffordable burden on the medical system," the report said.
"Our findings have raised a clear warning that, for the time being, we are not ready to embrace 'open-up' strategies resting solely on the hypothesis of herd immunity induced by vaccination advocated by certain western countries."
The mathematicians warned that their estimates were based on simple arithmetic calculations and that more refined models would be required to study the evolution of the pandemic if travel restrictions were lifted.
China has continued to maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward COVID-19, claiming that the importance of containing local cases when they are discovered outweighs the disruptions caused by efforts to trace, isolate, and treat infected people.
China reported 23 new confirmed coronavirus cases on November 27, down from 25 the day before, according to the country's health ministry on Sunday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a new COVID-19 variant discovered in South Africa with a high number of mutations to be "of concern," prompting some countries to impose travel restrictions.