Intended for healthcare professionals

China's response to Covid-19

In two years, the covid-19 pandemic has swept the entire globe and caused over 250 million infections and five million deaths, despite unprecedented efforts to stop it. China was the first country affected and held the world’s interest as it battled to understand and contain the new pathogen.

But China has reported only 0.05% of the total number of global cases despite making up 19% of the world’s population. The question then is what can the world learn from China’s response to SARS-CoV-2?

This collection of articles sheds light on China’s pandemic experience and draws out lessons for the rest of the world.


What can the world learn from China’s response to covid-19?
Old school public health and technology can allow aggressive containment to succeed

Rapid and sustained containment of covid-19 is achievable and worthwhile: implications for pandemic response
George F Gao and colleagues argue that innovative technological and organisational approaches can overcome important challenges to containment measures early in a pandemic

Importance of public health tools in emerging infectious diseases
Jin-Ling Tang and Li-Ming Li argue that despite the lure of vaccines and new drugs, established public health measures will remain our best tool to control covid-19 and future epidemics

Vaccination strategy and challenges for consolidating successful containment of covid-19 with population immunity in China
Zijian Feng and colleagues argue that sustained elimination of SARS-CoV-2 in China offers flexibility in covid-19 vaccination policy and discuss the anticipated challenges and systematic monitoring necessary to keep the immunisation component of the response on track

Non-pharmaceutical interventions during the roll out of covid-19 vaccines
Quanyi Wang and colleagues call for continued use of non-pharmaceutical interventions to control covid-19 during and after vaccine roll outs

Use of contact tracing, isolation, and mass testing to control transmission of covid-19 in China
Qingwu Jiang and colleagues discuss China’s experience of contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine of infected people and their contacts, and mass nucleic acid testing in the second phase of the covid-19 epidemic

Role of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic infections in covid-19 pandemic
Liming Li and colleagues highlight the importance of identifying people without symptoms to control outbreaks of covid-19

Effectiveness of 14 day quarantine strategy: Chinese experience of prevention and control
Tie Song and colleagues argue that a 14 day quarantine of inbound passengers is an effective and proportionate measure to control imported covid-19

Cold chain logistics: a possible mode of SARS-CoV-2 transmission?
Yuan-Yuan Li and colleagues argue that the limited evidence supports cold chain logistics as a transmission route for SARS-CoV-2

Better modelling of infectious diseases: lessons from covid-19 in China
More timely, accurate, and relevant data and methodological innovation could exploit the full power of modelling, argue Feng Chen and colleagues

Learning for the next pandemic: the Wuhan experience of managing critically ill people
Bin Du and colleagues explore the Wuhan response to managing critically ill patients in a novel disease pandemic, and lessons learnt for dealing with future pandemics


This collection of articles was proposed by the Peking University Center for Public Health and Epidemic Preparedness & Response, open access fees were funded by individual institutions. The BMJ commissioned, peer reviewed, edited, and made the decision to publish these articles. Liming Li advised on commissioning for this collection. Jin Lin Tang, Di Wang, and Kamran Abbasi were the lead editors for The BMJ.