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China's experience being applied by Iran in combating novel coronavirus: experts

Updated: Mar 10,2020 09:59 AM    Xinhua

TEHRAN — Iran is applying China's experience in fighting the COVID-19, which will help ease the epidemic situation in the country soon, Chinese experts told Xinhua in recent interviews.

Currently, Iran is adopting China's testing standard for the coronavirus, while most of the testing kits are donated by China, said Zhou Xiaohang, head of the five-member Chinese expert team sent to Iran by the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) on Feb 29.

Since the detection of the first cases of COVID-19 infection in the central city of Qom on Feb 19, Iran has become the hardest-hit country by the novel coronavirus in the region.

Iranian Health Ministry announced on March 9 that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases rose to 7,161, of whom 237 have died and 2,394 have recovered.

Zhou, also head of the Disaster Relief and Health Department of the Shanghai Branch of RCSC, said the Chinese experience, which includes nationwide mobilization, home quarantine, and full screening and testing of suspected cases, and centralized treatment of the patients, has been proved very effective in containing the virus' spread.

"The Chinese experience, recognized and supported by the Iranian Health Ministry, is being actively applied in Iran by both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the RCSC in containing the spread of the coronavirus," Zhou told Xinhua.

Ma Xuejun, a member of the Chinese team and an expert from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Iran's testing capacity has significantly improved, as shown in the recent surge in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.

"The best way to effectively control the epidemic is early detection and isolation," Ma added.

On the recent rapid rise in the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iran, the Chinese experts explained that there are two reasons behind the increase.

First, the disease is completely new and it took time to understand at the early stage of outbreak; second, the improved testing capability led to the temporary surge in the number of confirmed cases.

However, with the adoption of more effective measures by Iran, including establishing designated hospitals for centralized treatment of the patients, the situation in Iran will improve gradually, said Qian Zhiping, a member of the Chinese team and a professor from Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center.

"The expert team believes that, with the increased attention of the Iranian government and people, and accumulated experience, the mortality rate in Iran is expected to further decline," Qian added.

Iran is currently facing a shortage of medical supplies, such as testing kits, personal protective equipment and facial masks, the experts noted.

The good news is that the WHO and some countries and international organizations have offered their support to Iran in dealing with the shortage of medical supplies, they said.

The Chinese experts expressed cautious optimism over Iran's campaign to fight the COVID-19, citing that Iran, which boasts a relatively complete public health system, has created a comprehensive prevention and control system to fight the disease in a short time.

Wu Huanyu, a professor with Shanghai Public Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said each country should follow its own national conditions and implement the measures to fight the coronavirus' spread accordingly.