Published: 11:49, November 4, 2021 | Updated: 11:52, November 4, 2021
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Booster shots recommended
By ​Yang Wanli and Xu Wei

Elderly urged to take care as 109 newly confirmed cases reported on China's mainland

A primary school student salutes medical workers after a COVID-19 sample collection in Chongqing on Wednesday. The city reported four locally transmitted cases on Tuesday. (ZHENG YU / FOR CHINA DAILY)

China's leading pulmonologists affirmed the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine booster shots and warned that elderly people should pay more attention to disease prevention, as many of them have not yet been vaccinated.

Zhong Nanshan, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a leading expert in China's respiratory disease research, told China Daily on Wednesday that the Delta variant is highly contagious.

"Although it has not resulted in a significant increase in the death toll, we should prevent the disease from causing more cases with severe symptoms, especially among the elderly," he said.

"We hope at least 80 percent of people in China will receive a full course of vaccinations by the end of this year. Elderly people, in particular, should get a booster shot," Zhong said.

China has been expanding vaccine inoculations to combat COVID-19 and build an immunity barrier as the novel coronavirus continues to spread worldwide. Booster shots-additional jabs offered after a full primary vaccination-are being recommended in particular.

Some Chinese cities, including Xi'an in Shaanxi province, Guangzhou in Guangdong province and Beijing, have launched a campaign to administer COVID-19 booster shots for those age 18 and older who were fully vaccinated at least six months ago.

The Chinese mainland recorded 109 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Tuesday-93 local transmissions and 16 from overseas-data from the National Health Commission showed on Wednesday.

Of the new local cases: 35 were reported in Heilongjiang province; 14 in Hebei province; another 14 in Gansu province; nine in Beijing; six in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region; four each in Chongqing and Qinghai province; two each in Jiangxi and Yunnan provinces and the Ningxia Hui autonomous region; and one in Sichuan province, the commission reported.

The recent resurgence of COVID-19 has hit 16 provincial regions, with three high-risk areas-one in Beijing, one in Inner Mongolia and one in Heilongjiang-and 46 medium-risk areas.

Workers disinfect the entrance of a community at Tiantongyuan neighborhood where several cases were discovered in Beijing on Tuesday. (DENG WEI / FOR CHINA DAILY)

From 12 pm Tuesday to 2 pm Wednesday, Beijing reported five new locally transmitted cases. All are in the city's north Changping district.

"Beijing is still facing a complicated epidemic control situation, and safety precautions on all forms of transportation need to be strengthened to reduce infection risks," Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a news conference.

The city government continues to ask its residents not to leave Beijing unless absolutely necessary. Residents are not encouraged to have weddings or gatherings of family and friends at present.

"Many of those confirmed cases had adopted some measures to prevent the virus from further spreading when they knew that they might very likely be infected," Pang said.

"The virus is the enemy for each one of us. We should shoulder our responsibility to combat it and report to local health departments as soon as possible when we are at risk of infection."

In Ruili, a border city in Southwest China's Yunnan province, efforts from the local health department and residents have been made to curb imported cases.

To strengthen prevention and control efforts, police, health workers and villagers are on call 24 hours a day to clamp down on illegal migration and to promote health guidance and vaccination.

"Our village has been under quarantine since March this year. From March until now, home quarantine was lifted for only a month," said Yu Ying, a local resident. She said her son was sent to her family members living in a neighboring city. "We hope to see an end to the pandemic as soon as possible."

So far, a growing number of regions, including Beijing and the provinces of Hubei and Liaoning, have expanded their COVID-19 vaccination programs to cover children from the age of 3, rather than limiting inoculations to those age 12 and above, as was previously the case.

On Wednesday, Zhong, the academician, also expressed confidence that sporadic COVID-19 outbreaks in China's northwestern and northeastern regions can be effectively controlled in about a month with government efforts.

Li Yingqing contributed to this story.

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