The focus and the regions involved in the recent domestic pandemic situation are relatively concentrated. As the National Health Commission (NHC) has chosen to release relevant protection guidelines at this point for low-risk areas during the summer months, is there any special consideration behind this move? Since release of the guidelines, they have attracted a certain amount of public attention, so what are the key points to which people should pay most attention? Also, is there any obvious difference between this current revised version and the previous one? Thank you.
Thank you for your question. At present, most areas of China are deemed to be low-risk pandemic ones. After entering the summer months, however, all parts of the country need more accurate prevention and protection guidelines for resumption of work, production and business. Therefore, we had to revise some of the original guidelines, applying them to low-risk areas. We have changed the original 50 categories of guidelines into 65 categories. The major change concerns adding prevention and protection requirements for such places as exhibition halls, libraries, museums, art galleries, fitness and sports sites, tourist attractions, swimming pools, public bathhouses, imported goods and materials transfer points, relief management agencies, as well as confined entertainment and leisure places such as theaters, cinemas, games arcades and dance halls. In addition, we have added personal prevention and protection guidelines for teachers, salespersons, food industry practitioners, etc. Compared with the previous versions of the guidelines, we have revised the prevention and protection measures according to the differentiating characteristics of the season and the related sites, and adjusted some specific protective requirements for temperature tests and how to wear masks and gloves according to different scenarios, places and groups of people.
In the revised guidelines, we have specially reinforced the following measures:
First, the guidelines reiterate adherence to the measures for daily hygiene protection, such as good ventilation, environmental sanitation and disinfection, as well as reducing gatherings, promoting hand hygiene, separate dining and one-meter social distance. These are measures that we have repeatedly emphasized throughout the epidemic prevention and control phase. The new guidelines still stress these measures. At the same time, we are also emphasizing that in some key sites, for example, the farmers' market, their employees should obey the measures of wearing masks and gloves.
Second, some targeted guidance for different categories involves getting the public to wear masks. For example, service staff in relatively confined places such as cinemas, theaters, games arcades, internet cafes and transportation vehicles, and at various other public places, should always wear masks. And, when you go to the hospital for treatment, you should also wear a mask. For some groups of people facing occupational exposure, they also need to wear masks. In other sites and venues, if you can maintain safe social distancing of more than one meter, you need not wear a mask or you can do so voluntarily.
Third, the protection guidelines regulate the management and use of air conditioning systems. Everyone knows that, with the arrival of summer, an air conditioner is indispensable. In the guidelines, we require that all air-conditioning systems need to be adjusted from the original requirement of shutting down all return air to a new requirement of reducing return air as much as possible and increasing the amount of fresh air. It emphasizes regular cleaning of the cooling tower, ensuring the fresh air inlet is kept clean, regularly cleaning, disinfecting, and replacing equipment such as the air diffuser, and maintaining a certain distance between the fresh air inlet and the air exhaust shaft.
Fourth, there are some venues that still need to adhere to body temperature monitoring, such as hotels, cinemas, theaters, internet cafes and other relatively confined places. There are also special units such as nursing homes and welfare homes, as well as transportation and passenger stations, schools and public institutions that must adhere to such testing. They need to strengthen the sanitation and disinfection measures for their confined environment; dance halls, and land, waterway and civil aviation passenger transportation facilities, need to adhere to a full health code inspection. However, if no explicit requirements have been put forward, other places in these low-risk areas may not need to carry out temperature testing.
In regard to internet cafes, arcades, museums, public bathhouses, swimming pools and other enclosed and poorly-ventilated venues, the guidelines suggest that, when there are crowds in these places, people should minimize the length of their stay. Therefore, such protection guidelines are more suitable for summer and more appropriate for low-risk areas. We very much hope that media friends will widely publicize the protection measures, so that the people can know all the contents and comply with it. Thank you.