SCIO briefing on efforts of the Central Guidance Team in Hubei to organize and guide epidemic control

The State Council Information Office held a press conference on Thursday afternoon in Wuhan, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, to introduce the efforts being undertaken by the Central Guidance Team in Hubei to organize and guide the work related to epidemic prevention and control. February 21, 2020

Xi Yanchun:

Friends from the media, good afternoon. Welcome to the second press conference held by the State Council Information Office in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. In accordance with the decision of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, the Central Guidance Team led by Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, also member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, arrived in Wuhan on Jan. 27 to strengthen the overall work surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control on the frontline.

A lot of attention is being paid to this work. Today, we have invited three members of the Central Guidance Team in Hubei to brief you at this press conference. They are Mr. Ding Xiangyang, deputy secretary-general of the State Council; Mr. Lian Weiliang, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission; and Ms. Yu Yanhong, member of the Leading Party Members' Group of the National Health Commission, secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group and deputy head of the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. They will introduce the efforts being made by the Central Guidance Team in Hubei to organize and guide the work related to epidemic prevention and control. They will also answer your questions. First, I'll give the floor to Mr. Ding.

Ding Xiangyang:

Friends from the media, good afternoon. The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has triggered a special "battle" unprecedented since the founding of the People's Republic of China. The novel coronavirus, which has spread in an unexpectedly violent and extensive way, has led to difficulties and pressures rarely seen before in our society. The lives and interests of the people always come first. Since the outbreak began, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has given earnest consideration to the situation, giving top priority to saving people's lives and protecting their health, as well as placing epidemic prevention and control work as the most important task on the current agenda.

General Secretary Xi Jinping leads, directs and organizes the arrangement of the work of epidemic prevention in person. He has called numerous meetings, heard reports and issued important instructions. On Jan. 25, the first day of the Lunar New Year, General Secretary Xi chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to discuss the prevention and control of the outbreak. Under the unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee and thanks to the concerted efforts made by all sectors of society, the epidemic prevention and control work is being carried out in a vigorous and orderly manner, with various measures conscientiously being implemented. All Chinese people have come together, creating an invincible force for fighting against the outbreak.

Premier Li Keqiang has held many State Council executive meetings, and chaired meetings of the Leading Group of the CPC Central Committee on Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control, making arrangements for the epidemic prevention and control work, and coordinating important issues in person, such as medical rescue and the provision of needed medical supplies. Comrade Wang Huning, among other senior CPC leaders, has also issued instructions regarding the control of the epidemic.

Hubei, especially the provincial capital Wuhan, is the top priority for defeating the virus and winning the integrated people's war against the epidemic. General Secretary Xi Jinping emphasized that Wuhan is crucial for the victory in Hubei, which in turn will determine the outcome of the nationwide battle. In accordance with the instructions issued by General Secretary Xi and decisions made by the CPC Central Committee, the Central Guidance Team led by Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, arrived in Wuhan on Jan. 27, the third day of the Lunar New Year. From the very moment of arrival, Comrade Sun Chunlan and other members of the team have been working around the clock to tenaciously fight to win this tough war against the outbreak.

Our comrades are heedless of the danger in the frontline battle against the COVID-19. They identify problems and solve them in a timely way to guarantee the successful implementation of decisions and arrangements by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council and ensure that the CPC flag waves high over the battle zone all the time. The CPC Central Committee sent the Central Guidance Team to guide epidemic control and prevention work in Wuhan in order to show the people living in Wuhan, and all the rest of the nation, that Wuhan is not a "lonely island" and doesn't fight in isolation. General Secretary Xi Jinping and the CPC Central Committee always stand with the people of Hubei and Wuhan! We join hands and we breathe the same air and share the same fate. Wuhan doesn't only belong to the people of Hubei, but also people in the whole country. We, together with the people of Wuhan, are dedicated to defending this beautiful land, and our shared home!

We have firmly curbed the spread of COVID-19 and will win the battle of epidemic control and prevention. This is a nationwide campaign in which there are no idle bystanders, and we must pull together to win the battle. The frontline of the fight against the virus is truly a battlefield. Medical workers proceed without hesitation and in contempt of all dangers. On the eve of the Spring Festival, they gathered urgently from across China to provide medical aid for Wuhan. In the face of epidemic, they step forward and hold steadfastly to their faith – if there is a war in the country, we will answer our country's call and win it. Currently, more than 30,000 medical personnel, including military medics, have been sent to Wuhan from across the country to provide aid and fight the epidemic. We have seen them proceed without hesitation, without a single thought of withdrawal. When medical supplies were urgently needed, they changed the four-hour shift to a six-hour one for saving protective suits. Some comrades even wear diapers to work to avoid any natural breaks. They run a race with death, fight against virus, and pump life into patients. They are the most beautiful people in the new era.  

Since the outbreak, friends from the media also face danger of infection on the frontline, and play an important role in recording the epidemic, its control and prevention, and tell the healing stories happening at the epicenter to help the public understand objectively and comprehensively the situation on the frontline. Friends from the media, you present the world an unyielding, loving and invincible China before the world with your pen, paper, camera and microphone. On behalf of the Central Guidance Team in Hubei and Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, I'd like to express our sincere thanks to everyone!  

I remember a saying that there is no winter that will not pass and no spring will not come. Chinese people are great people, so is the Chinese nation. In face of ruthless epidemic, as long as we rally around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, come together, try our best to fight bravely, and press forward against all odds, we will win this people's war. The warm spring will come on time.  

At last, I wish to extent my gratitude to officials and residents in Wuhan and Hubei. They strictly implement the major decisions and arrangements by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and work hard with their sweat and labor for the virus fight. I want to thank medical workers on the frontline again for their hard work against the clock. Some of them unfortunately became infected and even gave their life, which reflect their noble spirit of boundless love and great humanity. On behalf of the Central Guidance Team in Hubei, I want to give my tremendous amount of credit to comrades fighting on the frontline and express my deepest sympathies for medical workers dying valiantly and patients killed by the COVID-19. 

Xi Yanchun:

Please stand up.

(Moment of silence)

Take a seat please.

Now, I will give the floor to Mr. Lian.

Lian Weiliang:

Ladies and gentlemen, friends from media, good afternoon. The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have always been paying close attention to Hubei and Wuhan in particular, as well as the progress being made of our fight against COVID-19. People across China and the world care a lot about what is happening in the area of Hubei and Wuhan. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the shortage of medical supplies initially restricted the epidemic's prevention and control program, affecting patient treatment and threatening the safety of medical staff. However, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council have attached great importance to dealing with this issue. General Secretary Xi Jinping has issued instructions on many occasions that medical resources and preventive supplies should be ensured for the frontline area, and top priority should be given to the needs of frontline medical staff and patients. Premier Li Keqiang also stressed the need to coordinate medical resources across China, and those supplies urgently-needed in Hubei and Wuhan should be prioritized. In addition, the supply of people's daily necessities in that area should be ensured. The Central Guidance Team in Hubei has fully implemented the decisions and deployment of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, taking the life and health of people in the hardest-hit regions as the absolute priority. We have strived to make use of all available resources and coordinate all possible forces in society to effectively ensure the supply of the needed materials.

Due to the joint efforts from the entire society, major medical supplies for frontline medical staff have been ensured, and the supply of people's daily necessities has achieved basic sufficiency. The change from supply shortage to general sufficiency should be, above all, attributed to the importance attached to this issue by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. All possible resources across China have been coordinated under the joint prevention and control mechanism to ensure supplies in Hubei, and especially in Wuhan. Second, a growing number of businesses and manufacturers have responded to the appeal of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council to quickly resume work and production with well-planned epidemic prevention arrangements. Many companies have expanded their production capacity or switched their production line to medical products, so that the output of vital medical supplies has greatly increased. Third, great credit should go to the generous donations received from all over China and the world. Fourth, medical staff and other workers facing a high risk of infection, including news reporters, have adopted a scientific, reasonable, categorized and economical way of using these medical supplies. Fifth, "wartime mechanisms" have also been adopted in many respects to tackle emergency situations. Some companies have actually organized production ahead of signing deals, and some have arranged delivery without any advance payment. The fight against COVID-19 has literally become the top priority.

Nevertheless, we should also be aware that, according to the requirement of leaving no patients unattended, there will still be an enormous need for medical supplies with the increase of extra medical staff and patients undergoing treatment. There are structural problems in some types of medical supplies, and individual problems still exist in different medical institutions and different cities. After the implementation of strict control and management, residents may find it less convenient to buy daily necessities. There are likely to be shortages of some goods from time to time.

At this most critical moment in the prevention and control of COVID-19, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan has required the Central Guidance Team in Hubei to establish a communicative mechanism with authorities in Hubei and Wuhan to secure all the supplies on a daily basis. The coordination, tracking, as well as the results of each supply will be conducted through this mechanism on a daily basis. Individual problems will also be resolved in the same way. In addition, a direct communicative mechanism has also been established between the Central Guidance Team and assisting medical teams as well as key hospitals in the province, so that the existing problems could be solved as soon as possible.

Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, as well as the huge support from all of society, the number of new confirmed cases outside Hubei has dropped for 16 consecutive days. This provides favorable conditions to secure the medical supplies and daily necessities for Hubei and Wuhan. We have faith, and are determined to further work on this aspect, so as to provide strong support for the battle against COVID-19. Thank you.

Xi Yanchun:

Thank you, Mr. Lian Weiliang. Now, let's give the floor to Ms. Yu Yanhong. Please.

Yu Yanhong:

Good afternoon, friends from the media! The CPC Central Committee and the State Council have laid great emphasis on epidemic control and prevention work. General Secretary Xi Jinping has given clear instructions that the diagnosis and treatment plans should be enhanced continuously by combining traditional Chinese and Western medicines and the diagnosis and treatment procedures, use of effective medicines, and rescue measures of severely-ill patients should be made clear as soon as possible. Premier Li Keqiang has stressed that the combination of traditional Chinese and Western medicines should be stepped up, especially in bringing about in-depth involvement of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the process of diagnosis and treatment. The Central Guidance Team in Hubei has paid great attention to medical treatment, and has organized 278 medical teams with a total of 32,395 members to meet the task in Hubei province, using a combination of traditional Chinese and modern Western medicines. They have kept on improving their diagnosis and treatment plans, and tried to positively promote the critical passage of the work. Vice Premier Sun Chunlan has advanced the medical rescue work with great efforts and strongly promoted the involvement of TCM in the whole process of epidemic prevention and control work in a rapid way. Now, I will brief you the information of the role of TCM in the medical treatment efforts.

First, we have mobilized the resources of all the departments and conduct medical treatment instantly. We have integrated the strengths of the competent departments of the TCM at national, provincial and city levels, directed and deployed them in unison, transferred 3,200 medical personnel to assist the efforts in Hubei, organized four batches of 588 people each to form national TCM teams who have joined with medical staff at the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, Leishenshan Hospital, Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine and also taken over the Jiangxia makeshift cabin hospital, dispatching high-level expert teams to conduct clinical treatment and observation and summarize the experiences there, getting to know and treat the disease from the perspective of the TCM. Many TCM academicians have offered advice and suggestions, providing demonstration and research knowledge, and formulating treatment plans that have been incorporated into the third, fourth, fifth and sixth editions of the national diagnosis and treatment plans and guided the TCM treatment work across the nation. 

Secondly, in order to achieve the desired results, we have combined traditional Chinese and modern Western medicines, conducting treatment by classification, and improving medical efficacy. In order to improve the recovery rate and lower mortality rate, the system and mechanism of the in-depth involvement of TCM in the diagnosis and treatment process have been enhanced. As for the quarantine areas, the TCM treatments have been applied more by organizing 10 TCM expert teams to visit patients with mild symptoms during the recovery phase, so as to complete work assigned to each provincial, municipal and district TCM hospitals. As for the mobile cabin hospitals, each one is manned with two or three TCM experts to promote standardized treatment. As for designated hospitals, the TCM and Western medicine joint consultation system has been established. As for severely-ill patient treatment, a total of 12 teams formed by State-level TCM and Western medicine integration ICU experts have been set up to make doctor visits and offer targeted treatment plans. At the same time, the TCM and Western medicine joint consultation system has also been implemented at the Sino-French New City Branch of Tongji Hospital, Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital, Leishenshan Hospital and other designated hospitals.

Right now, the TCM treatment in the epidemic prevention and control has achieved progress and its application extent and depth has kept improving. The close collaboration between TCM and Western medicine has scored a number of breakthroughs and a batch of effective prescription and traditional Chinese medicine have been found and achieved great curative effect in the treatment of COVID-19. We will implement the system of combining TCM and Western medicine in detail, give full play to the role of the former and safeguard people's safety and health.

Xi Yanchun:

Thank you, Ms. Yu Yanhong. Next, we will move on to questions. Please ask questions via the video link and identify your news outlet before asking your question. Now the floor is open for questions.

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