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Latest developments in epidemic control on March 7 (1)

Updated: 2020-03-07



BEIJING — China has stepped up efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Here are the latest developments:

— Some vaccines against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are expected to enter clinical trials by mid-April or even earlier. Chinese scientists are racing to carry out scientific and technological breakthroughs in epidemic prevention and control by adopting five technological approaches, Ding Xiangyang, deputy secretary-general of the State Council, said on March 6.

— About 827,000 people who returned to Beijing from an extended Lunar New Year holiday are currently undergoing a 14-day home observation. Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of the city's epidemic control office, said the city's anti-epidemic battle has entered a critical and also difficult period as pressure from coronavirus spreading from both outside and within Beijing is still high.

A total of 161,000 property management staffers and security guards are on duty for grassroots prevention and control around the clock. The municipal government has dispatched 842,000 masks, 27,000 thermometers and 4,350 items of protective gear to aid the fight at community and village levels citywide.

— China has expanded and optimized the utilization of drugs and therapies in the treatment of the COVID-19 to block the conversion of mild cases to severe cases and save critically ill patients.

Tocilizumab, with the common brand name Actemra, has been included in China's latest version of diagnosis and treatment guidelines on COVID-19. Currently, the drug is under clinical trials in 14 hospitals in Wuhan.

— Researchers in China's Shenzhen have observed the appearance of the novel coronavirus after inactivation using frozen electron microscopy and captured the intermediate state of the virus infecting host cells.

— Nearly 90 research institutes, associations, theme parks and resorts, and travel companies from both home and abroad teamed up on March 6 to form a cooperation mechanism in a bid to revive the epidemic-hit tourism industry in China.

Initiated by the China Travel Academy, China Tourist Attractions Association and China Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the newly established mechanism called for strengthened epidemic-control measures while resuming operation, timely exchange of information and mutual assistance between all its members.

— Mi Feng, an official with the National Health Commission, said on March 6 that China must not relax its vigilance or lower the level of work in epidemic prevention and control as the number of imported cases of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) increases.

The Chinese mainland reported 17 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on March 5 outside Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. Of them, 16 cases, including 11 in Gansu, four in Beijing and one in Shanghai, were from outside the mainland. By the end of March 5, 36 imported cases had been reported.

— Beijing is seeking legal safeguards to promote public-spirited behaviors and deter bad habits through regulations. Basic etiquette like covering one's nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, wearing a mask when diagnosed with flu or respiratory diseases and obeying regulations prohibiting the consumption and trade of wildlife are likely to rise to legal norms.

— Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region has downgraded its emergency response toward the novel coronavirus outbreak. The regional government lowered the local emergency response from the top level to the second level, which will enter effect on March 7. Certain areas will be managed under the requirements of the third level.

— More than 90 percent of self-employed business owners have resumed work in South China's Guangdong province, which has the largest number of individual industrial and commercial businesses in the country, with about 7.1 million self-employed people.

— A total of 143 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 30 deaths were reported on March 5 on the Chinese mainland. Among the deaths, 29 were in Hubei province and one in Hainan province.

The overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 80,552 by the end of March 5, including 23,784 patients who were still being treated, 53,726 patients who had been discharged after recovery, and 3,042 people who had died of the disease.

— Three Chinese medical experts from Tongji Hospital in Wuhan on March 4 shared their experiences treating the novel coronavirus disease with their Italian peers who made inquiries on a video call.

Enrico Ammirati, a cardiologist in the department of anesthesia and ICU of Niguarda Hospital, raised questions concerning the criterion of wards, treatment schemes of cytokine storm and COVID-19, as well as protection of medics.

— The Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on March 5 called for local legislations that fit the actual situations of corresponding places to curb the COVID-19.

Local legislatures should listen to the suggestions from professional personnel and the public to improve the quality of legislation, said the commission.