With Chinese experts concluding coronavirus can’t be eradicated, the focus is on keeping infections to a manageable level to avoid catastrophic surges.

Beijing: As the first major country to emerge from coronavirus lockdowns, China is focused on avoiding a devastating second wave of infections as it returns to a semblance of pre-pandemic life.

Distanced school desks, compulsory face masks and tracking apps are being deployed from the financial hub of Shanghai to the frigid northern province of Heilongjiang. With Chinese experts concluding that the virus cannot be eradicated, government officials are focused on keeping infections to a manageable level to avoid catastrophic surges that overwhelm hospitals.

This balancing act between letting people return to normal life while keeping infections at a low level is one that governments around the world, including the hardest-hit nations like Italy and the U.S., will have to try to master. Even with tools that others don’t have — powerful state surveillance and control of people’s movements — China doesn’t have a full picture, nor any guarantee of success.

“All of which means that as China restarts its economic and social life, there are known unknowns that could viably lead to another outbreak,” said Nicholas Thomas, a professor specializing in public health at City University of Hong Kong.