Expert warns COVID-19 epidemic could last until next year

Expert warns COVID-19 epidemic could last until next year

China's top coronavirus advisor Prof Zhong Nanshan warned that the coronavirus epidemic could last until next spring.

Dr Zhong Nanshan urged authorities to continue imposing harsh measures to curb the spread of the disease.

The senior epidemiologist said that the virus would not 'disappear' this winter or next spring.

'[The epidemic] should continue to exist or ramp up when the winter and spring come,' he predicted in an interview with Guangdong TV Station.

But he played down the possibility of another major outbreak like the one that hit Wuhan.

He said: 'Although the source of the outbreak in Beijing this time is still unclear, it is clearer than that of Wuhan.

"A vital thing is that China can track [patients] and carry out short-term measures such as the closure of schools and universities as well as the reduction of flights. [These measures] are necessary," Daily Mail cited him as saying.

Prof Zhong said harsh measures like those could help prevent the spread of the virus.  

The officials' remarks come as a new COVID-19 outbreak erupting the Chinese capital has stoked public fears of a second wave after a cluster was linked to a sprawling seafood market.