SCIO briefing on China's regular prevention and control of COVID-19

The State Council Information Office held a press conference Friday afternoon in Beijing on China's regular prevention and control of COVID-19. May 16, 2020


Wuhan is conducting nucleic acid testing on all its residents. Why is the city doing this? The State Council joint prevention and control mechanism recently issued a guideline on regular prevention and control of COVID-19, stipulating that key groups will all be tested and other groups will all also gain access to testing. Can you please explain, in detail, how this will be implemented? Thank you.

Zeng Yixin:

The purpose of arranging nucleic acid tests for all residents in Wuhan is to better understand the range of the epidemic, proactively spot the infected, and strengthen the work of nucleic acid testing and infection screening. The massive testing aims to implement the principle of early detection, reporting, isolation and treatment. It also provides a vital guarantee for the coordinated resumption of work, production and schools and regular epidemic prevention and control. Based on a comprehensive and scientific evaluation of infection risk and testing capacity, the expanded nucleic acid testing will facilitate the work of targeted prevention and control of the pandemic, safeguard people's health, promote a reasonable flow of the population and accelerate restoration of social and economic activities and normal daily life in a comprehensive way. Other regions can also adjust and improve their epidemic prevention and control measures according to their own situations, just like Wuhan. The measures and ranges of nucleic acid testing can be dynamically differentiated in accordance with specific needs and testing capacity. It is a very arduous task to conduct nucleic acid testing for all residents in Wuhan. To guarantee the testing is effective, we have to make sure that the group of people tested earlier have no close contact with the following group of people tested. Technically, we also have to ensure a stable sensitivity if we adopt the sample-integrated solution in testing. It is indeed tough work, but we will make efforts to complete it. 

On May 7, the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism listed a range of targeted and practicable measures in its guideline on regular prevention and control of COVID-19. We have taken the following steps to implement the guideline.

First, we are expanding the testing range to lower the risk of the pandemic spreading. Various regions shall set and dynamically adjust their testing strategies and ranges while ensuring key groups are all tested and other groups also have access to testing.

Second, we are improving testing capacity to satisfy demand. We will enhance lab facilities in disease control institutions, medical establishments and customs; encourage social institutions to provide testing services; make more efforts in research, approval and marketization of testing equipment, solutions and detection reagents; and improve the production capacity of relevant equipment, testing kits and consumable materials. Quite a few approved testing kits have entered the market, but we still have lots of work to do to ensure they are constantly upgraded via unremitting research and development. 

Third, we are improving work mechanisms to improve testing efficiency. Relevant departments should shoulder their responsibilities and conduct testing in an orderly and organized manner. Residential communities should mobilize residents to assist in and cooperate with testing work and, in accordance with the law, observe prevention and control measures, such as sample collection, detection, isolation and treatment. The support and cooperation of the people are badly needed to ensure this work is properly carried out.

Fourth, we are reinforcing organization and management to further consolidate the work of testing. Governments at all levels should make strengthened testing an important part of their work for regular prevention and control of COVID-19, provide more policy and financial support and rapidly improve nucleic acid testing capacity, which will cement the achievements we have made in epidemic control and effectively prevent a rebound of the epidemic. 

That's it. Thank you.

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