The National Health Commission released a guideline for expanding nucleic acid testing for new coronavirus in June. The guideline said mandatory nucleic acid testing for the virus should cover people in eight categories. How is the testing of the key groups proceeding? What role does expanded nucleic acid testing play on epidemic prevention and control? Thank you.
Thank you for your questions. I will answer the second one first. Nucleic acid testing is now one of the most scientific methods to determine whether or not a person is infected with COVID-19, and also an important guarantee for resumption of work and production, class, business activities, as well as fulfilling regular prevention and control tasks. Therefore, expanding nucleic acid testing is conducive to achieving precise prevention and control, consolidating achievements in this regard, and maintaining public health. Moreover, it is also conducive to a proper personnel flow and comprehensive recovery of the economy and order in production and life.
Accelerating nucleic acid testing is a primary and important measure for implementing the principle of early detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment in regard to regular prevention and control, and for achieving a rapid response, precise control and effective treatment.
The first question is how to raise testing capacities and expand testing scope.
In regard to the guideline, I would like to emphasize three points:
First, people in the eight categories should all undergo nucleic acid testing, while others may do so voluntarily. Concerning this, the guideline made clear that local authorities can determine and dynamically adjust testing strategies and scope according to the needs of prevention and control work and local testing capabilities. In terms of the testing of people in the eight categories in particular, localities must make dynamic adjustments according to prevention and control needs and testing capabilities.
Second, local authorities can determine and dynamically adjust groups that should receive testing first based on the situation of epidemic prevention and control. You may have noticed during the press conference of the Beijing Municipal Government yesterday afternoon that, in terms of nucleic acid testing, the moves being undertaken by Beijing are based on the situation of local epidemic prevention and control, and are being organized in distinctive categories and carried out with a clear focus step by step.
Third, organization and leadership should be strengthened, responsibilities should be clarified, and capacity building in laboratories should be comprehensively enhanced. It includes hardware construction as well as software development for personnel training, strengthening laboratory construction in disease prevention and control organizations at or above the county level, hospitals at or above the level of grade two, specialized hospitals, maternal and child health centers, customs, ports at land borders, and especially port cities with relatively scarce medical resources, relatively weak testing capabilities, and high prevention and control pressure. The requirement for the testing capabilities of cities without an outbreak now is to ensure they are not caught unprepared.
Therefore, to enhance testing capabilities across the country and standardize testing procedures, we have started nationwide online training on nucleic acid testing since June 15. The training is being carried out through the online training platform of the National Health Commission Capacity Building and Continuing Education Center. The China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Center for Clinical Laboratories and other involved organizations have jointly developed a textbook for this training, as a national continuing education promotion project. Provinces across the country will grant trainees corresponding credits after the training. A total of 360,000 people has been trained as of noon today. There will be offline training for hands-on practice after the online study, which require the provinces to set up on-site guiding groups mainly made up of members of nucleic acid testing teams who have supported Wuhan and Hubei laboratories. Hands-on practices and trainings are conducive to improving testing capabilities of various localities fundamentally.