Press conference on epidemic prevention and control updates, protection and caring for medical staff

A press conference was held Friday afternoon to introduce the latest situation on the prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak, especially measures to improve protection and caring for medical staff. February 15, 2020

Hu Kaihong:

Because the time is limited, this will be the last question.

Southern Metropolis Daily:

We know that the medics are suffering in a stressful work environment leading to psychological pressure in the frontline of fighting the epidemic. They may need some relevant departments to offer psychological counseling. How can we help them to adjust their mental state in such a high-pressure environment through psychological counseling? Thank you.

Zeng Yixin:

Thank you for your concern about the mental state of medics. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, a large number of medical staff have been fighting against the epidemic in the frontline. They are facing high pressure from that work and associated psychological aspects, and urgently need psychological counseling and positive emotional support. The National Health Commission has adopted a series of measures to strengthen mental crisis intervention and psychological counseling for them. First is to introduce the guidelines on mental crisis intervention of the COVID-19, listing frontline medics in the top level for major intervention. We put forward targeted interventions and suggestions for possible psychological problems. Second is to introduce work guidelines on psychological assistance hotlines. All regions are asked to set up such a hotline to cope with the epidemic and provide normative services. At present, 448 free psychological assistance hotlines have been opened across the country. On this basis, 11 psychological assistance lines and seven online psychological consulting platforms have been opened for medics in the frontline, providing a 24-hour psychological consulting service. Third is to strengthen the popularization of psychology-related scientific knowledge for medical staff in the frontline. Focusing on issues of psychological adjustment and handling psychological crisis for medics, experts are organized to compile and publish three handbooks on psychological adjustment in dealing with the COVID-19, public psychological self-help and consulting, and 50 questions of psychological support skills in community service.

However, I think the psychological pressure of medical staff will gradually decrease after the epidemic is brought under good control. The number of new confirmed cases has continued to decline in recent days. We think this is a good sign. You may notice that the number of new confirmed cases per day in provincial regions other than Hubei reached its peak of 890 on Feb. 3. From Feb. 4 to 12, the number of daily new confirmed cases dropped to 312 over those nine days. And the number further dropped to 267 on Feb. 13, meaning a consecutive decline for 10 days. At the same time, the number of daily new suspected cases also dropped from 2,211, the peak of Feb. 6, to 1,296 on Feb. 13. All these trends suggest that the early stage of epidemic prevention and control has been effective, and we should continue to consolidate the fruits. In the next step, we must strive to do a good job in epidemic prevention and control and take different measures for counties and districts according to the principle of scientific prevention and control and accurate implementation, striving to minimize the impact of the epidemic.

On the other hand, we must actively promote steps to restore the economic and social order, maintain smooth operation of the economy and keep harmony and stability of society. We should place equal emphasis on epidemic prevention and control and the recovery of economy and society. As the situation of epidemic prevention and control improves, the medical staff's psychological pressure that you have referred to will become less and less. Thank you.

Hu Kaihong:

The press conference is hereby concluded. Thanks to our speakers. Thank you for your attendance today.

Translated and edited by Zhang Liying, Li Xiao, Zhang Jiaqi, Gong Yingchun, Wu Jin, Mi Xingang, Zhu Bochen, Cui Can, Lin Liyao, Zhang Rui, Gao Zhan, Li Huiru, Guo Xiaohong, Yang Xi, Wang Qian, He Shan, Fan Junmei, Yuan Fang, Wang Yanfang, Zhang Junmian, Zhou Jing, Huang Shan, Jay Birbeck, Geoffrey Murray. In case of any dispute over a discrepancy, the Chinese version is deemed to prevail.

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