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SCIO press conference on rigorous COVID-19 prevention and control

The State Council Information Office held a press conference in Beijing on March 18 to brief the media on rigorous COVID-19 prevention and control.

China.org.cnUpdated: March 23, 2022

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Wang Hesheng, vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC) and administrator of the National Administration of Disease Control and Prevention 

Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the NHC

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


Shou Xiaoli, deputy director general of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and spokesperson of the SCIO


March 18, 2022

Shou Xiaoli:

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome to this press conference held by the State Council Information Office (SCIO). To implement the major directives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on COVID-19 prevention and control, today the SCIO is holding a press conference on the rigorous COVID-19 response, and we will also answer your questions. We are joined by Mr. Wang Hesheng, vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC) and administrator of the National Administration of Disease Control and Prevention; Mr. Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the NHC; and Ms. Jiao Yahui, director of the Bureau of Medical Administration of the NHC. 

Now, I will give the floor to Mr. Wang Hesheng.

Wang Hesheng:

Friends from the media, good afternoon. Thank you for your interest in and support for the COVID-19 prevention and control work. First, I will introduce the current priorities of the COVID-19 response, and then my colleagues and I will take your questions.

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council attach great importance to COVID-19 prevention and control. General Secretary Xi Jinping has taken personal command, planned the response, and made a series of important instructions. He has emphasized adherence to the overall strategy of "preventing inbound cases and domestic resurgence" and the dynamic zero-COVID approach, as well as the need to coordinate the COVID-19 response with economic and social development.

Yesterday, on March 17, General Secretary Xi Jinping presided over a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to analyze the latest COVID-19 developments and arrange for better and more stringent epidemic control measures. General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized that victory comes from perseverance, and all local authorities and government departments must be fully aware of the complex, arduous and enduring nature of COVID-19 control both at home and abroad, further social mobilization, build consensus, proceed with greater confidence and perseverance, and carry out all the epidemic control work in a more solid and meticulous manner. He emphasized the need to always put people and their lives first, adhere to the dynamic zero-COVID approach with science-based and targeted measures, and contain the spread of the virus as soon as possible. He said that efforts must be taken to make the epidemic response more science-based and targeted and keep optimizing the response measures. He also called for maintaining strategic focus, pursuing progress while ensuring stability, coordinating the COVID-19 response with economic and social development, adopting more effective measures, striving to achieve the best results in epidemic control with minimum costs, and minimizing the epidemic's impact on the economic and social development.

The NHC and the National Administration of Disease Control and Prevention have been earnestly implementing General Secretary Xi Jinping's important instructions. In response to multiple local case clusters in parts of China, we have worked with relevant authorities to strengthen guidance for key regions. We have worked to ensure "early detection, reporting, isolation and treatment," implement stringent epidemic prevention and control, and resolutely take more effective and targeted measures. These steps are aimed at suppressing local outbreaks as soon as possible and providing an enabling environment for people's lives and economic and social development.

First, we have worked swiftly on the emergency COVID-19 response. Recently, China has seen cluster infections spreading widely and occurring frequently in multiple regions. The comprehensive working group under the State Council's inter-agency task force immediately sent national working groups to provinces including Jilin, Shandong, Guangdong and Heilongjiang to guide their COVID-19 response. The groups worked with local authorities to assess the COVID-19 situation, develop response measures, accelerate screening through nucleic acid testing, investigations and regional checks, ensure "early detection, reporting, isolation and treatment," provide the best possible treatment for patients, and curb the spread of the virus.

Second, we have consolidated the defense line against inbound infections. We worked to ensure sound prevention for people, objects and environments, tighten personnel management at points of entry, implement strict closed-loop management, and increase the frequency of nucleic acid tests; guard against risks from imported cold-chain food and high-risk non-cold-chain objects; step up the management of border areas and points of entry, and intensify the crackdown on illegal entries and exits. We worked vigorously with our land neighbors to build a joint prevention and control mechanism and ensure sound epidemic prevention and customs clearance for cargo at border areas.

Third, we have increased capacity for preventing, controlling and handling infections. We improved COVID-19 response plans on monitoring, epidemiological investigation, quarantine for medical observation, community (village)-based epidemic prevention and control, sample collection and testing. We worked to ensure those who test positive are reported and investigated immediately and control measures are taken before screening. We regulated work on the screening of people at risk, the management of close contacts, and identification of risk areas. We attached equal importance to both traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine and provided standard and regulated treatment. We worked to guarantee the implementation of the first consultation responsibility system and strengthen prevention of hospital-acquired infections. We carried out record-based management of more than 7,000 fever clinics and over 800 designated hospitals. We also enhanced our testing capacity, with national testing capacity reaching over 40 million samples per day.

Fourth, we work hard to implement vaccination programs. In line with the plans of the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism, we have guided local authorities to step up COVID-19 vaccination and booster vaccination efforts in a proactive, prudent, and orderly manner and further raise the overall vaccination rates.

Our achievements in epidemic prevention and control are not easily attained, and it is important to fully recognize their value. Next, we will work together with relevant departments to fully implement the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and further step up our efforts in key epidemic control tasks.

First, we will bring local cluster infections under control as soon as possible. We will guide key regions to accelerate nucleic acid testing and speed up identification, epidemiological investigation, and management of at-risk groups so as to achieve dynamic zero-COVID in communities as soon as possible.

Second, we will reinforce the line of defense against imported cases. We will adopt remote prevention and control measures on inbound arrivals, prioritize close-loop management, and expand monitoring coverage of key groups. We will also see that special working teams at port-of-entry areas fulfill their responsibilities for COVID-19 control by stepping up patrols along river banks and coastlines and strengthening the deployment of anti-epidemic personnel.

Third, we will strengthen routine epidemic control and management in key places and key regions. Guidance will be given to schools, nursing homes, detention centers, passenger terminals, shopping malls, supermarkets, and other key venues and densely populated places, as well as cold-chain workers, shopping mall and supermarket staff, logistics workers, and people from other key sectors, for them to strictly implement anti-epidemic measures. 

Fourth, we will make the epidemic response more science-based and targeted. We will strictly implement pre-examination triage, and the first consultation responsibility system. We will also improve the mechanism for issuing early warnings through multiple channels and promote a monitoring model that uses antigen testing for earlier detection and the nucleic acid test for diagnosis. Guidance will be given to local authorities to ensure that their epidemic control work will be more science-based and targeted, minimizing the epidemic's impact on economic and social development.

That's all for my introduction. Thank you.

Shou Xiaoli:

Thank you for your introduction, Mr. Wang. Let's move on to the question-and-answer session. Please identify the media outlet you represent before asking a question. Now the floor is open for questions.

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