SCIO briefing on progress of Central Guidance Team in Hubei to organize and guide epidemic control and medical rescue

The State Council Information Office held a press conference Friday afternoon in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province, to introduce the progress being made by the Central Guidance Team in organizing and guiding works related to epidemic control and medical rescue in the fight against COVID-19. February 29, 2020

China Review News Agency (Hong Kong):

During the epidemic control and prevention process, the establishment of Fangcang shelter hospitals is a pioneering step. Can you brief us how many hospitals of this kind there are and how many patients can they receive? What kind of role do they play during the anti-epidemic battle? Thank you.

Ma Xiaowei:

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the number of patients seeking treatment has grown dramatically. The shortage of medical resources and hospital beds made it hard to take in all patients and leave no one unattended, and we were facing mounting pressure as the flow of so many patients in communities and society might lead to the delay of treatment and the spread of the virus. Under the complicated circumstances, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, head of the Central Guidance Team in Hubei, carried out frontline inspections and made the decision to set up Fangcang shelterr hospitals by renovating a batch of gymnasiums and convention centers in Wuhan city. Zhou Xianwang, mayor of Wuhan, guided the work and coordinated at the frontline, ensuring the renovation work moved ahead day and night. Party secretaries and heads of all districts in Wuhan held fast to their positions to ensure that all measures are fully implemented. The first batch of three Fangcang shelter hospitals with 4,000 beds was constructed in only 29 hours. The Central Guidance Team in Hubei dispatched 22 national emergency medical rescue teams, mobile cabins and three national mobile nucleic acid testing vehicles to work in Wuhan the very same night. A total of 76 medical teams with over 8,000 staff members entered the hospital in succession over the following days and started to work immediately, setting up facilities, receiving and treating patients at the same time. So far, a total of 16 such temporary hospitals with over 13,000 beds have been built and more than 12,000 patients have received treatment there. One in four of all COVID-19 patients in Wuhan were treated in a Fangcang shelter hospital with zero infection, zero death and zero recurrent infection rates. Currently, there are more than 7,600 patients receiving treatment at these temporary hospitals and 5,600 beds are vacant awaiting patients.

Looking back, the establishment of Fangcang shelter hospitals is a significant measure enabling expansion of the medical resources in a short time when other means were not immediately practicable. If all those patients had not been hospitalized for a long time, their mild symptoms might have become severe and wide-spread transmission might have occurred at the community level. Just imagine that if those patients had not been admitted to hospital in two or three days, the epidemic could have been transmitted more rapidly and we would have been faced with more challenging work. At the crucial moment, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan made a key decision. The Fangcang shelter hospitals play a significant and irreplaceable role in the epidemic control and prevention, and creates a new mode for expanding medical resources in a short time when responding to public health emergencies, disasters and epidemics in the future.

The large-scale application of the Fangcang shelter hospital is a landmark in the medical rescue history of our country. Its smooth operation is attributed to the firm leadership of the CPC and the government, the earnest effort of the medical staff and especially the cooperation by the Wuhan citizens and the understanding of the patients. The relationship between doctors and patients there is harmonious. Temporary Party branches were established at some Fangcang shelter hospitals and they have organized many activities beneficial to patients' recovery. The Fangcang shelter hospital is indeed a cabin of life.

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