SCIO briefing on the joint response to the new coronavirus-related pneumonia outbreak

A press conference was held Sunday afternoon to explain the work being carried out to jointly prevent and control the new coronavirus-related pneumonia outbreak. January 27, 2020


We have been paying close attention to the prevention and control situation in rural areas. There is a concern being raised by news media that, among the vast number of migrant workers who returned from cities to rural areas before the Spring Festival, some may have contracted the coronavirus. It is very common for people in rural areas to pay visits to friends and relatives during the Spring Festival. What is worse, there is a lack of experience in fighting the virus, people's awareness of fending off the coronavirus is very low, and medical conditions are not satisfactory, which means rural areas may become the vulnerable front in this battle. All these things will affect the prevention and control work. What do you make of that? How should we cope with that? Thanks.

Li Bin:

Let me answer your question. Prevention of coronavirus in rural areas is one of our key tasks. Public health in rural areas is of paramount importance in China's public health campaign, which has always given priority to the rural areas. In public health, especially in the prevention and control of infectious diseases, we should increase our efforts. At present, we have planned in an integrated way the prevention and control measures in both rural areas and urban communities. Mr. Ma stressed this point just now. To do this, we will step up efforts in the following three aspects.

First, we will raise farmers' awareness of health, especially their awareness and capabilities in regard to disease prevention. We are launching a publicity campaign to popularize the knowledge of disease prevention and control and are compiling various publicity materials for the new coronavirus-related pneumonia. Through multiple means such as "A Letter to Rural Areas", we will enhance health publicity and education, reduce large-scale gatherings and encourage people to go to the hospital immediately they experience symptoms that appear related to the disease. As to the vast number of migrant workers who have returned home from cities, we, together with the media, call on them to raise their personal awareness, voluntarily put themselves under medical observation after returning home, seek timely medical help, and support the preventative measures adopted by local governments.

Second, we will trace the migrant floating population, especially those returning home from Wuhan, and put them under medical observance. For those coming back from Wuhan, local governments will see to it that health alerts are issued and medical screenings are performed to check if they have symptoms of fever, coughing and breathing difficulties. We will keep health records via health cards which will be managed by local township hospitals and village doctors. A system of daily screening and reporting will be put in place to improve health management.

Third, we will improve diagnosis, treatment, tracing and screening of patients, confirmed or suspected. Medical institutions above county level should strengthen pre-examination triage and establish fever clinics to provide convenience as well as protective equipment for patients. Those who suffer respiratory symptoms but no fever should go to the township hospitals for treatment, and those who have fever should go to the fever clinics. Any infected person must be sent to the designated hospital and close contacts must be effectively quarantined. Meanwhile, we will strengthen infection control within medical institutions of various levels, and launch training programs for medical workers. We have recently increased efforts to train rural medical workers. Two rounds of prevention and control training programs have been completed nationwide. We have used videos for technical guidance training as well as clinical prevention and control training. The video training programs have already been launched in county and district level hospitals. As a result, the service capabilities of medical workers at grass-roots level have been remarkably enhanced. Meanwhile, we will put in place a close-knit network by implementing training programs at the township and village levels. Health authorities at county levels should provide guidance for medical workers in township hospitals and village clinics to perform medical screening and tracing. In particular, they will see to the health management of migrant workers returning home and make sure all the prevention and control measures are implemented meticulously. Thank you.

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