Mask, hand sanitizer and temperature check three times a day.
That is the average day of millions of students in China, as the country where Covid-19 was identified for the first time has declared victory over the coronavirus.
Strict supervision helped more than 240 million students from kindergarten through college return to classrooms in September, according to the county’s Department of Education.
Li Hailong, an English teacher at an elementary school in Beijing, said: “For students, we all understand we use this method to keep them safe at school, so it̵7;s all about follow”.
Restrictions in China are similar to those in Europe and the US, but broad public compliance seems to be making a difference.
Weaved into the texture of everyday life is a health coding system that assigns color-coded indications based on a person’s state of health. Masks, temperature testing and mass testing are common.
The Chinese government has been criticized for its lack of openness and for minimizing the severity of the outbreak in the first place. The country was also accused of mishandling the first phase of the outbreak and silencing whistleblowers.
President Donald Trump is one of the strongest critics, alleging that Beijing’s early failures enabled the virus to spread faster.
But 10 months after the virus appeared, life was almost normal before the pandemic in China, to a degree not seen in most other countries.
“They’ve done an incredible job at the University of Washington and former official of the international health program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Ali Mokdad, professor of global health at the University of Washington. virus control.
But such success is only possible through restrictions on individual liberties, which will not be accepted in the United States and other democracies.
Download the NBC News app for the latest coronavirus news
During the strict crackdown in Wuhan, the city in central China, where the virus first appeared in January, the authorities took draconian measures to prevent people from entering and leaving.
David Harper, senior fellow of the Global Health Program at the London-based consulting organization Chatham House, said: “The reports show very strong compliance with the measures required for with the people.
“The system that exists in China allows the implementation of this central political directive through enforcement at the local level in a way that doesn’t exist in many other countries around the world,” Harper said.
According to the National Health Commission of China, a country of 1.4 billion people, there have been no reports of Covid-19 deaths since April 26 – the only official source of information on coronavirus infection rates. in China. NBC News was unable to independently verify reported numbers.
The country has reported 86,212 confirmed cases and 4,634 deaths since the pandemic began. In contrast, nearly 10 million cases and more than 230,000 deaths have been recorded in the US alone, according to NBC News.
Worldwide, the virus has killed more than 1.2 million people, with nearly 50 million confirmed cases, according to data from John Hopkins University.
“China is puzzling people,” Mokdad said, adding that a number of factors are at play.
The memory of the 2002 SARS pandemic, he said, killed nearly 800 people and resulted in economic loss, leaving Chinese people more inclined to wear masks and away from society during this year’s outbreak.
Qifang Bi, a Ph.D., said that since the SARS epidemic, the country has reformed its public health system. candidate at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, who conducted the Covid-19 study in collaboration with researchers at the Shenzhen Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Although the CDC still faces many challenges, its success in curing cases in the midst of a pandemic shows that the public health system has come a long way,” said Bi. long since after SARS.
At the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak in China, she said, early and strict lockdowns in Wuhan played a key role in buying other parts of the country valuable time to spend. activating their public health responses, preventing an increase in cases.
But most importantly, Mokdad said, is the government’s response that includes clear and consistent messages.
“There is a national mandate and everyone abides by it,” he said.
As Europe and the US continue to face a large number of new cases, China has been eager to show off its success in stopping the virus.
Beijing’s world-famous auto show, which was postponed in April, opened its doors in September, becoming the first major auto show to do so since the pandemic. It is crammed with a lot of people, with almost everyone wearing a mask.
Local media reported that in Wuhan, a sports arena used as a temporary hospital at the height of the pandemic staged a basketball match in front of 7,500 fans last month.
In the country’s biggest test, more than 600 million Chinese traveled across the country during the first week of October to mark the Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional occasion for families to gather together and marks the national holiday celebrating the founding of Communist China.
As the week ended, the state-run Global Times reported on overcrowded tourist spots and said people were sharing posts about traffic jams again – calling congestion “happiness.” that other countries want but “can’t have it right now.”
“Since the outbreak, China has applied the most comprehensive, strictest and most radical control and prevention measures,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said last week. He added: “It has been proven that China’s disease prevention and control measures are effective.
But China is far from being out of the woods, and vacation travel is a huge challenge for the country, Mokdad said.
While domestic tourism in the first week of October did not appear to have resulted in any new cases, a series of cases have been reported in Qingdao, east of Shandong province, leaving nearly 11 million residents. must be tested. Prior to the case in Qingdao, China had reported no cases of local infections since August 15.
In late October, after examining 4.7 million people, the authorities placed the remote western city of Kashgar after a series of new cases were discovered.
China is also closely defending against viruses from abroad.
On Thursday, it banned non-Chinese tourists from nine countries, including the UK and France, as coronaviruses continue to worsen around the world.
“If they don’t maintain good behavior and start losing their guard, they will see an increase again,” Mokdad said.