Chinese premier announces slew of measures to fight virus outbreak

Neighborhood watch volunteers wear face masks as they gather on a street corner in Beijing, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

HONG KONG (The China Daily/ANN) — Premier Li Keqiang presided over the meeting of the leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on coping with the novel coronavirus, a pneumonia-causing virus, in Beijing. Li is head of the group.

China will adopt a host of measures including delaying and reducing conferences and major events, extending the Spring Festival holiday and supporting work online to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to a decision released at a high-level meeting on Sunday.

Premier Li Keqiang presided over the meeting of the leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on coping with the novel coronavirus, a pneumonia-causing virus, in Beijing. Li is head of the group.

The group was established after a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee chaired by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, on Saturday.

The Sunday meeting called for epidemic control measures to be adopted in a manner that is decisive, forceful, orderly, scientific and well thought-out.

It is important to have a keen understanding of the grave situation of epidemic control and prevention, put the safety and health of the people at a paramount position and make epidemic control a top priority right now, a statement released after the meeting read.

The meeting underscored the need for greater effort to bolster epidemic prevention and control in Hubei province and Wuhan, epicenter of the outbreak.

The country will coordinate resources nationwide and prioritize efforts to support the province and its capital with medical workers and resources such as protection suits and surgical masks, the statement said.

The supply of necessities for residents in the area must be ensured with unimpeded passage to be offered for resources distributed to the region, it added.

Provincial and municipal authorities in the area must carry out their responsibilities, accelerate the construction of special hospitals for admitting infected patients and renovate hotels as segregation zones, it said.

The meeting also called for better treatment of patients with fever and preventing secondary problems from the epidemic, with stronger support to medical workers to ensure their rotation from the frontline, their protection and to alleviate their mental and physical pressure.

It also urged heightened measures to monitor the virus, with stringent measures to segregate confirmed and suspected cases as well as their close contacts.

Authorities in areas with a large number of patients must increase the number of designated treatment hospitals, hospital beds and quarantine areas, the statement said.

More monitoring and epidemic control measures will be carried out at public venues and transport vehicles, it said.

The meeting also pointed out weaknesses in health conditions in rural areas with a large number of migrant workers returning to their homes.

Authorities must attach great importance to epidemic control and prevention in rural areas and give full play to the role of primary-level organizations and village doctors, the statement said.

To reduce population flows, the meeting decided on measures such as extending the Spring Festival holiday, which is scheduled between Jan 24 and 30, and delaying the start of the spring semester at colleges and schools.

It called for maximum effort to reduce the mortality of patients and enhance the treatment of patients. More research will be conducted on cured patients and treatment measures will be further refined, with more training set to be offered to medical workers.

The meeting urged quicker breakthroughs in research of vaccines for the virus, saying experts and researchers must work together in the process and social organizations must be encouraged to participate.

It also vowed strong accountability for those who concealed, underreported or delayed the reporting of infection cases, adding information on epidemic control and prevention will be made public in a timely manner.

China will step up cooperation with the World Health Organization as well as communication and operation with relevant countries during the epidemic control process, the statement said.

The Chinese mainland has reported 1,975 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus, including 56 dead and 324 in critical condition, in all provincial-level regions except the Tibet autonomous region as of Saturday.