Priorities in Epidemic Prevention and Control
Priorities in Epidemic Prevention and Control*
February 3, 2020
Our novel coronavirus prevention and control is directly related to people’s lives and health, economic development, social stability, and opening up. To contain the virus and win this battle we must race against time, fight with confidence, strength and unity, and adopt a science-based approach and a targeted response. The current priorities in our work are as follows:
First, strengthen unified leadership. We need to ensure a coordinated national response. Party committees and governments at all levels must follow the unified command, coordination and arrangements of the Party’s central leadership to ensure proper execution of orders. Provincial authorities and central departments are generally doing well in carrying out the decisions and plans of the central leadership. But there are still some weaknesses and problems, and we need to direct our attention to them, make improvements, and close loopholes. Virus prevention and control is not only a medical and health issue. It is a battle across various fields, and all sectors should engage in the battle and strive for victory. The situation is constantly changing, leading to new developments and challenges in every aspect of our work. We need to keep close track of the situation, make timely analyses, respond promptly, and act with resolve.
When taking measures to contain novel coronavirus, provincial authorities and central departments should take into account not only their own needs, but also the impact on virus response in key regions and at the national level. We should not hesitate to criticize those who fail to effectively implement the decisions and plans of the central leadership, and we should urge them to rectify their conduct immediately. In the case of those who are insubordinate and do not obey the unified command and arrangements, those who shirk their responsibilities, only make a perfunctory effort, or pass the buck, we should hold those individuals directly in charge accountable, and in serious cases, look into the responsibilities of the principal Party and government leaders. Those found guilty of malfeasance or dereliction of duty must be punished in accordance with Party discipline and the law.
Second, strengthen virus prevention and control in key regions. Only when we succeed in bringing this virus under control in key regions can we turn the tide across the country. We must focus on coordinating prevention and treatment forces across regions, pool medical resources and protective equipment on the front line, and prioritize the needs of medical workers and patients.
Hubei Province, and especially Wuhan City, remains the top priority in our national effort to contain the novel coronavirus – most infected people in other parts of our country have had contact with people from Hubei. As long as we keep the virus in Hubei under control, we will be able to ensure overall stability in the country as a whole. Within Hubei, we must continue to strengthen prevention and control in all respects. The principle of early detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment should be strictly applied. In addition, novel coronavirus surveillance should be heightened, infected people must be hospitalized and treated in designated medical facilities, and all close contacts are required to remain under medical observation at home. At the same time, we must enforce stricter measures to prevent the virus from spreading beyond Hubei. We closed all outbound channels, including planes, trains, highways and waterways, which played an important role in the national fight against novel coronavirus. But we cannot ignore the potential hazard from the outflow of people before the restrictions were implemented.
Recently, novel coronavirus has been spreading rapidly in the neighboring provinces of Hubei and in provinces with large population flows, as shown in the fast-growing number of new cases. To contain the virus, local Party committees and governments must fulfill their responsibilities. Grid-based community management should be strengthened, a thorough screening is to be carried out to ensure no one is left unchecked, and stricter, more targeted, and more effective measures should be adopted. To prevent the coronavirus from spreading through the movement of population, we need to identify risks and weaknesses in the management of people returning from seriously infected regions, emphasize the responsibilities of the authorities in places of departure and arrival, and carry out strict health monitoring for passengers and disinfection and ventilation of transport stations. Beijing holds a position of unique importance, but it now faces increasing pressure as a large number of people are now returning. To put a brake on the spread of the coronavirus, we must improve our response measures, reinforce management of key groups, cut mobile sources of infection, and reduce population flows and close personal contact.
Third, increase the admission and cure rates and reduce the infection and fatality rates, which is currently our crucial task. Hospitals solely for admitting and treating coronavirus patients should be completed and brought into service as soon as possible. We must continue to dispatch medical personnel from all over the country to Wuhan and the rest of Hubei as needed, while ensuring their own physical and mental health. We must arrange the disposition of these professionals based on overall plans, gathering together the most competent and the most experienced to coordinate the treatment of severe cases and reduce mortality. Where conditions permit, areas of high incidence of the disease can adopt the Xiaotangshan Hospital model to strengthen treatment. In the treatment of severe cases, prompt efforts should be made to replicate the most effective practices of other hospitals.
Fourth, redouble our efforts in scientific research. Novel coronavirus cannot be beaten without science. It is essential that we scientifically determine the origin of the virus, identify the infection sources and transmission routes as quickly as possible, keep close track of virus mutations, and develop the appropriate response strategies and measures. As I said back in 2016, we should encourage competition to make breakthroughs in core technologies in key fields. Anyone who can make such breakthroughs should be given the opportunity regardless of their background.
With regard to the R&D of vaccines and medicines, it is recommended to incentivize universities, research institutes and companies, and to combine R&D with clinical practice and virus prevention and control to accelerate this science-based process. Subject to ensuring national security, data concerning the virus and cases should be shared in our scientific and technological circles, with the exception of those that are confidential for legal reasons. We should bring together specialists in clinical medicine, epidemiology and virology to study the transmissibility, infectiousness, and some other vital features of the novel coronavirus and to achieve effective results as soon as possible. Experts and researchers are encouraged to sharpen their sense of responsibility and professional duty, so that they generate more professional opinions and suggestions based on scientific research.
* Part of the speech at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the 19th CPC Central Committee on novel coronavirus response.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)