State Council's inter-agency task force briefing on ensuring services and supplies to people who stay put during the Spring Festival holiday

The State Council's inter-agency task force held a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday to brief the media about the circular on how to ensure services and supplies to people who stay put during the Spring Festival holiday. January 28, 2021

Global Times:

It was reported earlier that China plans to inoculate 50 million people against COVID-19 before the Spring Festival. so how many people have been inoculated so far? In addition, some outbreaks have revealed obvious loopholes in the epidemic prevention and control in rural areas. Have these loopholes been plugged? Thank you.

Zeng Yixin:

Thank you for your attention to the vaccination issue. Mass administration of safe and effective vaccines is the most economical and efficacious measure to prevent and control infectious diseases. Therefore, we are now conducting the inoculation program with certain priorities and in a steady and orderly manner, vaccinating key population groups at a higher risk of infection across the country. We have mainly focused on vaccinating the tens of millions of people working in key areas involving border ports and international and domestic transportation, as well as in key industries such as health care, social resources security and basic social operation services. In general, the relevant work is progressing in a smoothly and orderly way, so that the number of people vaccinated in various regions is increasing. As of Jan. 26, a total of 22.77 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in China.

We have mainly done the following work: first, we have made meticulous and thorough arrangements concerning the vaccination task and provided relevant technical guidance to localities. These have, in a coordinated manner, set up vaccination organizations and teams, and carried out pre-vaccination professional training, while taking into account their needs regarding vaccination and epidemic prevention and control, as well as local medical and health resources. Second, the standardized management of inoculation has been strengthened. We have given full play to the role of the immunization information system and promoted IT applications in vaccine management so that every vaccine can be fully traced. Before vaccinating, the subjects must be asked whether they have contraindications so as to ensure standardized inoculation. Third, efforts have been made to monitor adverse reactions and conduct medical treatment. The monitoring of adverse reactions is very important and must be conducted in strict accordance with the regulations and fully reported to the relevant authorities. In addition, professional medical workers should be present at the vaccination sites to ensure medical treatment in a timely manner in case of any adverse reactions. This is my answer to the first question.

Now, I will talk about how to plug loopholes in epidemic prevention and control in rural areas. From the perspective of recent cluster cases, problems of weak awareness of epidemic prevention and control, insufficient anti-epidemic supplies and relatively poor technologies do exist in rural areas. Some localities have even witnessed super-spreading events caused by gatherings. In order to enhance pandemic prevention and control in rural areas, the NHC, along with relevant departments, has specially put forward anti-epidemic requirements for rural areas in the present winter and in the coming spring, and have made feasible work arrangements in line with actual rural conditions from the aspects of "early detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment and effective guarantee." Here, I'd like to stress in particular the following points:

First, prevention and control measures should be more precise and scientific. We put forward targeted requirements regarding the movement of people in areas at different risk levels. People in high-risk areas or those who have been to high-risk areas within the last 14 days should stay put during the Spring Festival travel rush. In principle, the same also applies to people in medium-risk areas or those who have been to medium-risk areas within the last 14 days. Key population groups in low-risk areas, including employees in the imported cold-chain food, having direct contact with imported goods at ports, and those working in isolation sites, are required to present a negative nucleic acid test result conducted within seven days of their planned date of return to their hometowns in rural areas in another province. The rest of people in low-risk areas need to possess a green healthy code for an orderly flow.

The second is to fulfill the responsibility of "four preventions" (preventing risks involving people, objects, the environment and unknown risks). Localities should activate epidemic emergency command systems, establish and improve their task forces, strictly implement the rules of epidemic "daily report" and "zero report", and make full preparations for nucleic acid testing, isolation, medical treatment, etc. I want to particularly underline that training in COVID-19-related knowledge of medical staff at the grassroots levels in rural areas, including rural doctors, should be intensified, so as to help them detect some suspicious symptoms in a timely manner, give correct suggestions and take some necessary measures during their daily reception of patients. In this way, we can ensure timely detection, reporting and handling of COVID-19 cases.

The third is to quickly initiate an emergency response. Once an epidemic occurs, the local joint prevention and control mechanism should immediately begin its emergency response, quickly carry out an epidemiological investigation, locate the source of infection as soon as possible, determine close contacts, implement local-regional control, administer nucleic acid tests to key personnel, provide medical treatment to patients, and implement other measures to control the spread of the epidemic as soon as possible.

No chances should be taken in such critical instances. All localities and units must refine and implement various work and emergency plans in accordance with the requirements of the joint prevention and control mechanism of the State Council and carry out emergency drills for epidemic prevention and control so as to ensure that all preparations for dealing with the epidemic can be put into place. Thank you.

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