Koon Yew Yin 10 May 2020
In my previous article I wrote about Trump’s bashing China to help him win election. I should have added that because he could not prevent the spread of Covid 19, he accused WHO for praising China for its system of prevention and control Covid 19 outbreak. Trump has decided to stop US financial support for WHO.
China On 24 February the WHO and China jointly published a 38 pages long report on Covid 19. I know not many ordinary people want to read such a long boring report. I think only scientists and medical doctors who are involved in the prevention and control of Covid 19 are obliged to read it. Nevertheless, I will try to write a summary of the China’s successful system of prevention and control Covid 19 outbreak. In short, Wuhan has lifted lockdown after 76 days and the people are free to go about as usual. Based on what I read, I must say that only the Chinese can prevent the spread of the virus so quickly because of the Chinese system of Government and the people are obedient. The Chinese are disciplined and they follow the rule of law willingly. The Chinese Government values human lives more than money. Unlike the Chinese, the Americans are currently protesting against lockdown, social distancing and wearing face masks, in spite of the fact that the US has the greatest number of Covid 19 cases in the world. Moreover, the number of cases and deaths is increasing at an alarming rate. To avoid a recession Trump cannot lockdown the country to save lives. He consider his election more important than saving human lives.
As soon as Wuhan detected a few pneumonia cases of unknown ethology, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council launched the national emergency response. A Central Leadership Group for Epidemic Response and the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council were established. General Secretary Xi Jinping personally directed and deployed the prevention and control work and requested that the prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak be the top priority of government at all levels. Prime Minister Li Keqiang headed the Central Leading Group for Epidemic Response and went to Wuhan to inspect and coordinate the prevention and control work of relevant departments and provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) across the country. Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who has been working on the frontlines in Wuhan, has led and coordinated the frontline prevention and control of the outbreak. The prevention and control measures have been implemented rapidly, from the early stages in Wuhan and other key areas of Hubei, to the current overall national epidemic. It has been undertaken in three main phases, with two important events defining those phases. First, COVID-19 was included in the statutory report of Class B infectious diseases and border health quarantine infectious diseases on 20 January 2020, which marked the transition from the initial partial control approach to the comprehensive adoption of various control measures in accordance with the law. The second event was the State Council’s issuing, on 8 February 2020, of The Notice on Orderly Resuming Production and Resuming Production in Enterprises, which indicated that China’s national epidemic control work had entered a stage of overall epidemic prevention and control together with the restoration of normal social and economic operations. During the early stage of the outbreak, the main strategy focused on preventing the exportation of cases from Wuhan and other priority areas of Hubei Province, and preventing the importation of cases by other provinces; the overall aim was to control the source of infection, block transmission and prevent further spread. The response mechanism was initiated with multi-sectoral involvement in joint prevention and control measures. Wet markets were closed, and efforts were made to identify the zoonotic source. Information on the epidemic was notified to WHO on 3 January, and whole genome sequences of the COVID-19 virus were shared with WHO on 10 January. Protocols for COVID-19 diagnosis and 15 treatment, surveillance, epidemiological investigation, management of close contacts, and laboratory testing were formulated, and relevant surveillance activities and epidemiological investigations conducted. Diagnostic testing kits were developed, and wildlife and live poultry markets were placed under strict supervision and control measures. The second stage During the second stage of the outbreak, the main strategy was to reduce the intensity of the epidemic and to slow down the increase in cases. In Wuhan and other priority areas of Hubei Province, the focus was on actively treating patients, reducing deaths, and preventing exportations. In other provinces, the focus was on preventing importations, curbing the spread of the disease and implementing joint prevention and control measures. Nationally, wildlife markets were closed and wildlife captive-breeding facilities were cordoned off. On 20 January, COVID-19 was included in the notifiable report of Class B infectious diseases and border health quarantine infectious diseases, with temperature checks, health care declarations, and quarantine against COVID-19 instituted at transportation depots in accordance with the law. On 23 January, Wuhan implemented strict traffic restrictions. The protocols for diagnosis, treatment and epidemic prevention and control were improved; case isolation and treatment were strengthened. Measures were taken to ensure that all cases were treated, and close contacts were isolated and put under medical observation. Other measures implemented included the extension of the Spring Festival holiday, traffic controls, and the control of transportation capacity to reduce the movement of people; mass gathering activities were also cancelled. Information about the epidemic and prevention and control measures was regularly released. Public risk communications and health education were strengthened; allocation of medical supplies was coordinated, new hospitals were built, reserve beds were used and relevant premises were repurposed to ensure that all cases could be treated; efforts were made to maintain a stable supply of commodities and their prices to ensure the smooth operation of society. The third stage The third stage of the outbreak focused on reducing clusters of cases, thoroughly controlling the epidemic, and striking a balance between epidemic prevention and control, sustainable economic and social development, the unified command, standardized guidance, and scientific evidence-based policy implementation. For Wuhan and other priority areas of Hubei Province, the focus was on patient treatment and the interruption of transmission, with an emphasis on concrete steps to fully implement relevant measures for the testing, admitting and treating of all patients. A risk-based prevention and control approach was adopted with differentiated prevention and control measures for different regions of the country and provinces. Relevant measures were strengthened in the areas of epidemiological investigation, case management and epidemic prevention in high-risk public places. New technologies were applied such as the use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to strengthen contact tracing and the management of priority populations. Relevant health insurance policies were promulgated on “health insurance payment, off-site settlement, and financial compensation”. All provinces provided support to Wuhan and priority areas in Hubei Province in an effort to quickly curb the spread of the disease and provide timely clinical treatment. Pre-school preparation was improved, and work resumed in phases and 16 batches. Health and welfare services were provided to returning workers in a targeted and ‘one-stop’ manner. Normal social operations are being restored in a stepwise fashion; knowledge about disease prevention is being popularized to improve public health literacy and skills; and a comprehensive program of emergency scientific research is being carried out to develop diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, delineate the spectrum of the disease, and identify the source of the virus.