Police officers stand on duty at a temporary checkpoint for epidemic control on a road linking Gaocheng district and the urban area of Shijiazhuang, in North China’s Hebei province, Jan 9, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The containment measures that have been adopted in Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, have given the nation a sense of security as the city has suspended public transport and finished the first round of nucleic acid testing citywide.

As of 10 am on Sunday, the number of confirmed cases had increased to 223. Of the 40 cases confirmed on Sunday morning, 26 are asymptomatic ones under medical observation. That means the 14 other cases were newly detected.

There is the possibility that more new cases are likely to be detected in the days to come. This also explains why another round of nucleic testing will soon be conducted for all city residents, which is meant to make sure that all potential virus carriers will be identified.

Gene sequencing comparison of the virus samples in the city has found that the virus belongs to that of the European families. It is therefore definite that this outbreak has no relevance with the previous coronavirus epidemic in the country. Neither does the gene sequence of the virus this time contain the mutated viruses found in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Work is still going on to search for the source of this virus outbreak.

There are 161 asymptomatic cases under medical observation.

There is no sign that this outbreak will turn for the better soon according to an expert from the provincial disease control and prevention center.

Among Shijiazhuang’s 12 districts and counties, 87 percent of the infections have been found in Gaocheng. These have been concentrated in Zengcun township.

That most of the cases are clustered in the provincial capital’s suburban rural villages is a reminder that much still needs to be done to intensify the control and prevention measures in the country’s rural areas when it comes to the fight against the virus.

That many infections are related to a wedding in a village points to the fact that local villagers’ awareness about and vigilance against the possible spread of the virus need to be heightened.

There remains a question whether the containment measures in the majority of rural areas are still in place. If rural villagers elsewhere are as lax as their counterparts in Shijiazhuang when it comes to their awareness about the necessity of always remaining vigilant against the possible spread of the novel coronavirus also remains a question.

China’s Spring Festival is just around the corner and the travel rush will begin in about two weeks, during which billions of trips will be made.

All local governments need to conduct a thorough inspection of all their rural villages to make sure that containment measures are carried out to the letter.