Press conference on Guidelines on Regular Prevention and Control of COVID-19 for Key Locations, Organizations and Population Groups at Low-risk Regions in Summer

The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council held a press conference on June 19, 2020 in Beijing to introduce Guidelines on Regular Prevention and Control of COVID-19 for Key Locations, Organizations and Population Groups at Low-risk Regions in Summer. June 22, 2020

Economic Daily:

Experts say Beijing's current COVID-19 outbreak was caused by human transmission and contamination of goods or materials. Many people wonder if it is safe to buy vegetables, fresh seafood and meat in the market. What kind of contacts would contaminate them? Is it safe to eat food bought from Xinfadi wholesale market after May 30? Thank you.

Feng Luzhao:

Thanks for your question. Naturally, people are very concerned about this. So far, there is no evidence that novel coronavirus can spread through food products, including seafood, via the digestive tract. According to research, the virus mainly spreads through respiratory droplets produced by COVID-19 patients and close contacts. Exposure to a high density of aerosol in a closed environment may also increase the chances of getting infected. Other transmission routes are yet to be confirmed. To reduce potential risks, though, it is recommended to avoid touching raw fish or meat when buying groceries, and be aware of food safety while cooking meals. For example, we need to wash our hands thoroughly before and after cooking, use separate chopping boards for raw ingredients and cooked food, thoroughly heat up food and drinking water, peel fruits, and disinfect cooking utensils and dishes through steaming them for 15 minutes. These are a few ways that can help reduce the risk of infection.

The newly-revised guidelines mentioned the change in emergency response level. It suggests shutting down enclosed entertainment and recreational venues and suspending school attendance. Does this mean that under regular prevention and control of COVID-19 there is a uniform arrangement in place for cases where certain area has adjusted risk levels?

Wang Bin:

As I just said, the revised guidelines target low-risk regions. However, we also emphasized the need to respond to any risk level adjustment. Once upgraded to medium and high-risk levels, the region concerned should follow strict prevention and control measures. For medium and high-risk areas, stricter measures and regulations should be adopted with timely adjustments according to the situation. For example, once the risk levels have been heightened, enclosed entertainment and recreational venues are advised to temporarily shut down. Daily life services will shorten business hours, limit the number of customers and the length of their stay, and avoid large gatherings. Outdoor services can maintain normal operations as long there is regular disinfection, monitoring of people's health status, and as much as possible avoiding gatherings. In passenger stations and on public transport, prevention measures should continue to be followed. For example, checking temperature, wearing masks, ventilating and disinfecting regularly and adopting measures to reduce the number of seats being occupied. Moreover, once the risk levels are raised, companies and organizations are encouraged to adopt different working hours, a flexible working mode or advise employees to work from home. Special venues like nursing homes, mental health institutes, and some places of confinements will implement closed-off management and prohibit visits. Schools are advised to suspend classes once a region is given a medium or high risk rating. These are recommended measures listed in the revised guidelines dealing with change in emergency response level.

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