Press conference on nucleic acid testing and advice concerning public health during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday

The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council held a press conference on June 24, 2020, in Beijing to brief the media on nucleic acid testing and offer advice concerning public health during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday. June 26, 2020

China News Service:

Many people have travel plans for the Dragon Boat Festival holiday. Due to the large flow of people from regions at different risk levels, will these people be required to get quarantined again when they return home, or receive nucleic acid tests before going back to normal life or work? Are there any regulations or suggestions with regard to this? Thanks.

He Qinghua:

Thank you for your questions. Tomorrow is the Duanwu Festival, the Chinese traditional festival also known as the Dragon Boat Festival. It has been the second holiday since we implemented regular COVID-19 prevention and control measures and also the first holiday since Beijing reported a new cluster of COVID-19 infections. As cases related to the Beijing outbreak have also been reported in several other provinces, it is now a critical time to curb the spread of the virus across the country. That will be yet another test for our regular epidemic prevention and control work. Domestically, there will be an increasing number of people moving between regions and thronging tourist attractions. There will be more passengers and freight being carried via highway, railway and air transportation. All will also boost consumption in the country. Meanwhile, the number of newly confirmed cases outside China is still increasing at a rate of more than 100,000 per day, posing risks of inbound infections. Strengthening personal protection during the holiday is still a problem of great concern for all. On May 7, the State Council issued the Guidelines on Regular COVID-19 Prevention and Control, putting forward 20 measures in regard to five aspects for organizations and individuals. Here, I'd like to highlight three aspects about the requirements for organizations:

First, all organizations need to assume the primary responsibility. We will continue to hold leaders responsible for the regular epidemic prevention and control work. We will improve the relevant mechanism, and implement various measures in this regard. These measures will be planned and deployed in advance. We will give detailed guidance, keep abreast of the epidemic prevention and control work in a timely manner, and take effective measures to deal with any clusters of cases. Second, we need to improve the epidemic prevention and control work. We will give full play to the monitoring and online reporting of cases identified at the fever clinics of medical facilities, and push forward the building of labs in centers for disease control and prevention at county level or above, Grade-II medical institutions, and maternity and child health care hospitals. We should seek to strictly prevent any cluster of cases from happening in hospitals. Third, we must strengthen epidemic prevention and control in key locations and organizations. Education activities should be promoted, especially regarding the 65 guidelines just released, in a bid to ensure the people truly understand these personal protection measures.

I'd like to make several suggestions on personal protection. First, people need to gain a good understanding of the epidemic prevention and control situation in the place of departure and at the destination point. People should cancel the travel plans if their destinations are the regions of high risk. Protective equipment such as face masks and hand sanitizers should be prepared before starting a trip. Second, people need to step up personal protection during trips. Third, protection measures need to be taken in the public places. For example, people should maintain at least one meter of social distancing, keep their hands clean at all times, avoid gatherings, reduce instances of dining together, and shorten the dinner time if dinning together. Fourth, continuous monitoring of one's health condition is vital. If there is any symptom such as fever or cough, people should cancel their travel plans and go to a hospital as soon as possible. Fifth, it is advisable to keep to a regular routine of life. People should reduce gatherings such as dinning together, but keep exercising and develop good habits overall.

You just asked whether people who return home for a visit during the holiday or come back to work after that should undergo quarantine or nucleic acid testing. It has been clearly stipulated in the Guidelines on Regular COVID-19 Prevention and Control and the recently released Notice on Providing COVID-19 Related Health Management Services for People Leaving Beijing. The measures we take, such as nucleic acid testing and quarantine, are designed to meet the needs of epidemic prevention and control work. So, it is necessary to ensure quarantine and nucleic acid testing for the people who come from Beijing's high- and medium-risk regions. People from Beijing's low-risk regions are required to undergo nucleic acid tests before leaving the city, and those who receive negative results don't need to be quarantined if they take personal protection measures. And people who are from other low-risk regions don't need to follow these requirements.


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