Health officials, experts explain new epidemic response measures

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 9, 2022
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Chinese health officials and experts on Thursday expounded on guidelines on new COVID-19 epidemic response measures and home-based care for those infected with the virus.

People are encouraged to conduct COVID-19 antigen self-testing if needed, and those infected who are asymptomatic or exhibit mild symptoms without severe underlying conditions can be treated at home, according to the guidelines released by the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism against COVID-19 on Thursday.

"The pathogenicity of the current Omicron strain has seen a notable decline, and the majority of the infected are asymptomatic or show mild symptoms, while only a small number of patients are severely ill," said Wang Guiqiang, director of the infectious disease department of Peking University First Hospital, at a press conference.

The majority of the infected can be treated at home, Wang said, adding that they should monitor their health conditions and contact community doctors or go to hospitals if necessary.

Wang said the aim of encouraging quarantine and treatment at home is to enforce more precise triage and treatment for patients with different severity levels of illness.

Wang also advised home-based personnel to minimize contact with family members or keep a certain distance from them.

The new epidemic response measures optimize nucleic acid tests by targeting personnel with a higher risk of infection.

High-risk groups include those who work at quarantine venues, medics at fever clinics, workers at shopping malls and supermarkets, and couriers, said Wang Liping, a researcher with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, adding that they should be subject to nucleic acid tests according to relevant rules.

The new measures stipulate requirements to better protect high-risk groups.

In order to minimize medics' exposure to the virus, medical institutions should improve the management of fever clinics, emergency rooms, and wards, said Guo Yanhong, an official with the National Health Commission.

Medical personnel should be equipped with protective gear and vaccinated to guard against the virus, Guo said, adding that a 48-hour negative nucleic acid test result is necessary when entering medical institutions.

Special institutions such as nursing homes should fully implement preventive measures and formulate emergency response plans, Guo said. 

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