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

Southern Metropolis Daily:

We know that the Central Guidance Team in Hubei have interviewed three people, including the vice mayor of Wuhan, on the issue of receiving patients. Regarding the issues exposed by the current epidemic prevention and control work, what measures have the Central Guidance Team in Hubei taken to urge Wuhan to strive to prevent and control the epidemic? Thank you.

Ding Xiangyang:

Thank you. The Central Guidance Team in Hubei is thoroughly implementing General Secretary Xi Jinping's important instructions regarding the guidance and supervision of the Central Guidance Team on epidemic prevention and control in Hubei province and Wuhan. The Central Guidance Team is taking various measures to effectively urge Wuhan to do the relevant work and implement the decisions and arrangements of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and State Council on epidemic prevention and control.

The first step was to supervise the work on the frontline. As the team leader, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan has repeatedly visited designated hospitals, Fangcang makeshift hospitals, quarantine spots, communities and rural areas. She urged local government officials in Wuhan to build up a real "wartime" command system. After investigation and coordination, we found that the previous command system in Wuhan needed to be promoted in a more positive way, and its efficiency also needed to be improved. If the system had been allowed to continue operating at a normal pace, it cannot be called a "wartime" one, and we can't use it to command this special medical battle so effectively. Therefore, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan asked local governments to improve their governance capacity, quality and efficiency.

Vice Premier Sun Chunlan has also supervised and directed the work of epidemic prevention and control in all districts of Wuhan through video conferences, urged local governments at all levels to fulfill their duties, and organized special groups to coordinate hospital bed allocations and other needs to leave no patients unattended. At the same time, all members of the Central Guidance Team in Hubei have fulfilled their duties in accordance with a clear division of labor. They went to communities, neighborhood committees, and relevant units of all districts in Wuhan to solve problems and difficulties in a timely fashion.

The second step was to admonish and expose several local officials who didn't perform their duties well. Just as you mentioned, we did admonish some officials both at municipal and district levels. In the early stages, during the process of receiving and treating "four types of people" and leaving no patients unattended, some officials failed to develop a clear picture of the epidemic situation, so that they can't treat patients timely or fulfill their responsibilities. There were even problems existing in transferring critical patients at some places, such as disorderly connection and organization, which provoked wide public dissatisfaction. We admonished several officials from Wuchang, Jianghan and Jiang'an districts and Wuhan municipal government, as well as leaders of the local health commissions in Wuhan city and Hubei province. In doing so, we wish to send a strong signal that we will punish any negligence and dereliction of duty. Also we urge all Party members and officials to work on a war footing, and truly give top priority to the safety and health of our people.

The third step was to verify and resolve the outstanding problems raised by the public. On the online supervision platform of the State Council and relevant social platforms, netizens and media friends have collected information about cases that have yet to receive treatment. Here, I would like to tell you that Vice Premier Sun Chunlan has required that every clue you found should be verified and every problem solved in regards to the epidemic control and prevention in Wuhan and Hubei. In addition, we also carried out secret investigations and supervision, in order to push local governments to correct mistakes earnestly, solve problems promptly, and apply lessons learned from experience to the future work.

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