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SCIO briefing on epidemic control and medical rescue in Hubei

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The State Council Information Office held a press conference on Saturday morning in Wuhan, epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, to introduce an updated picture of epidemic control and medical rescue in Hubei province.

China.org.cnUpdated: February 16, 2020

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Wang Hesheng, vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC), member of the Leading Party Members' Group of the NHC, and member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Hubei Provincial Committee

Liang Wannian, head of the NHC expert team for the epidemic response

Chang Jile, director of the Bureau of Disease Prevention and Control, NHC

Jiao Yahui, deputy director of the Bureau of Medical Administration, NHC


Xi Yanchun, spokesperson of the State Council Information Office of China


Feb. 15, 2020

Xi Yanchun:

Friends from the media, good morning. Welcome to the press conference. Hubei, especially the provincial capital Wuhan, is the top priority for the prevention and control of the COVID-19 (also known as novel coronavirus pneumonia) epidemic, and the decisive region for seeking to defeat the virus. Today, the State Council Information Office is holding a press conference at the frontline of the battle in Wuhan to introduce the latest information on epidemic control and medical rescue in Hubei province. We have invited Mr. Wang Hesheng, vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC), member of the Leading Party Members' Group of the NHC, and member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Hubei Provincial Committee. Also present at the press conference are Mr. Liang Wannian, head of the NHC expert team for the epidemic response; Mr. Chang Jile, director of the Bureau of Disease Prevention and Control, NHC; and Ms. Jiao Yahui, deputy director of the Bureau of Medical Administration, NHC. First, I will give the floor to Mr. Wang.

Wang Hesheng:

Friends from the media, good morning. The COVID-19 epidemic has become a shared concern to all Party members and all the people of our country. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have given earnest consideration to the situation. General Secretary Xi Jinping has called multiple meetings, making overall arrangements for the prevention and control work. During his inspection in Beijing on Feb. 10, General Secretary Xi talked to frontline medical workers at hospitals receiving severe cases in Wuhan, including Jinyintan Hospital, Union Hospital and Huoshenshan Hospital, using a telemedicine system. He extended regards to medical staff across the country, and called on us to give top priority to people's safety and health, save patients at all costs, increase the admission and recovery rates, as well as reducing the infection and fatality rates. General Secretary Xi's words pointed out the direction for the epidemic prevention and control work, especially in regard to medical rescue.

Since the outbreak of the pneumonia, China's health system has focused strongly on epidemic control and medical rescue. The NHC moved swiftly, submitting a proposal to the State Council to classify the outbreak as a category-B infectious disease, and take preventive and control measures on the level of a category-A infectious disease. The NHC released information on the COVID-19 outbreak as well as the prevention and control measures in a timely manner. We put forward and implemented the prevention and control strategies of "four early" (screening, reporting, quarantine and treatment at early stage) and "four concentration" (concentration of patients, experts, resources and treatment). Plans such as case diagnosis and treatment, emergency monitoring, epidemiological investigation are formulated and optimized. We immediately speeded up scientific research, quickly identified the pathogen of COVID-2019, and optimized the testing kits. All provinces have quickly set up joint prevention and control mechanisms. In accordance with the principle of territorial management, emergency response has been launched and the grid management of epidemic prevention and control has been strengthened in urban and rural areas. Local communities work to ensure preventive and control measures are effectively implemented. In accordance with the requirements of "non-proliferation within the city and non-export beyond the city," traffic restrictions were imposed on Wuhan and its links to surrounding areas. Tough measures, such as close contacts being quarantined, have been carried out and medical staff have spared no efforts to achieve patient recovery. Answering the call of the central government, health departments in various places sent preeminent medical workers to form rescue teams to support Hubei province. They also carried medical equipment and protective supplies such as ventilator, ECG monitor and ECMO.

Wang Hesheng:

As of 24:00 on Feb. 14, a total of 217 medical teams and 25,633 medical staff had been sent from various places, not including those provided by the military. Adding to that, three mobile BSL3 labs were also mobilized. There are now 181 medical teams and 20,374 medical workers in Wuhan. In other cities of Hubei province, there are 36 medical teams and 5,259 medical workers. The number of medical rescue teams and the speed of mobilizing medical resources all surpass those involved in the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. The central government also arranged 19 provinces to support different cities of Hubei province, known as "one province helps one city." The relevant provinces gave full support to the aided cities and prefectures. Adhering to the lofty spirit of "respecting lives, rescuing patients, complete dedication, selfless love," the medical staff bravely fights at the forefront of the battle against the epidemic. They made every effort to protect the people's lives and health. With unremitting efforts and strong measures of prevention and control, the peak of the coronavirus was dragged lower, and by doing so, we won time for curbing the spreading of the epidemic.

The prevention and control of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is currently at its most crucial stage. Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, remains the main battlefield. Medical treatment is being carried out in accordance with the general requirements of having full confidence and relying on concerted efforts, scientific containment and targeted measures. We will continue to give top priority to improving the rate of patients received and nursed to full recovery, and reducing rate of infection and mortality, and strive to win the battle against the virus in Wuhan and Hubei with all our strength.

As for reducing the infection rate, the entire province of Hubei, especially Wuhan, should enact and implement prevention and control measures in line with actual conditions. We have strictly implemented the measures of "early detection, early reporting, early quarantine and early treatment", and effectively carried out the classification and centralized management of confirmed patients, suspected patinets, fever patients with pneumonia symptoms and those who have had close contact with them. We have promoted the prevention and control at the community level, encouraging communities to shoulder their due responsibilities and carry out targeted management, and giving full play to the grassroots forces to make the communities serve as strong fortress against the epidemic in order to prevent the specter of another Wuhan. As for improving patient admission rate, we have carried out different measures according to different situations: all confirmed severely ill patients, including those clinically diagnosed, must be concentrated in designated hospitals for treatment, patients with mild symptoms must be isolated and treated in the temporary "cabin hospitals," and those suspected patients with mild symptoms must be observed and treated in isolated locations. We have converted a number of gymnasiums, exhibition centers and training centers into "cabin hospitals" and isolation centers for treatment. We will continue to improve equipment and facilities and strengthen service management so as to ensure security and good order in those places. At present, nine such cabin hospitals are operating, with more than 6,960 beds, and 5,606 patients receiving treatment there.

Wang Hesheng:

In the next stage, if needed, we will continue to transform some hospital wards and venues into designated hospitals and temporary hospitals, to make sure the confirmed and suspected patients can receive centralized treatment and no patients are left unattended.

Regarding improving the survival rate and reducing the mortality rate, we have coordinated the medical teams dispatched by the central authority and by provincial regions, as well as medical resources in Hubei, and adopted unified treatment standards, work processes and technical specifications in order to improve the level of medical treatment. We have adopted such a model as overall takeover, with assisting medics from the same provincial region or the same hospital taking charge of one specific department. In this way, critically ill patients can receive centralized treatment, and the advantages of medical experts can be given full play. We have implemented a multidisciplinary consultation system for difficult cases and a discussion system for death cases in order to improve and promote treatment plans. We will tap the potential of the mixed therapy methods of traditional Chinese medicine and its Western counterpart, using TCM for treatment as soon as possible. At the same time, we will strengthen the efforts to prevent infections happening inside the hospital and enhance the protection of medical staff themselves.

Media friends, protecting the people's health is the mission of medical workers. We will resolutely implement the decisions and deployment of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, take all possible measures to improve the rate of patients received and recovered and reduce the rate of infection and mortality, making our due contribution to the "people's war" against pneumonia epidemic caused by COVID-19. Thank you.

Xi Yanchun:

Thank you Mr. Wang Hesheng. The floor is now open for questions. Please ask questions via the video link and identify your news outlet before asking questions.

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