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Govt policy moves from past week

Wang Qingyun
Updated: Mar 24,2020 07:49 AM    China Daily

Resumption of normal medical services urged

All provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities should speed up efforts to resume normal medical services to meet the public's needs, according to a notice issued on March 20 by the State Council's joint prevention and control mechanism to cope with novel coronavirus pneumonia.

Since the novel coronavirus pneumonia broke out, China has invested a large amount of medical resources in tackling the disease, which led to limited medical services for some other patients, the mechanism said, adding that it was imperative to resume medical services for them quickly.

Different regions should resume medical services according to their own conditions, the mechanism said.

Those with a low level of risk of the novel coronavirus spreading should resume full services as soon as possible, including outpatient services, emergency care, hospitalization, surgery and examinations.

Regions with a high level of risk should focus on containing the epidemic while ensuring treatment for the critically ill.

Every hospital should make a detailed plan for resuming medical services, use information technology to estimate the number of patients each department will have, and adjust the distribution of resources accordingly.

Hospitals should also guide patients in making appointments online and seeking treatment at different hours, and offer more telehealth services.

All regions should make sure emergency care is available 24 hours a day, and work to provide sufficient medical services to people with chronic diseases who need regular medication, pregnant women, women who have recently given birth, the elderly and the mentally ill.

People with chronic diseases but who are in stable condition should be able to get prescriptions lasting for up to 12 weeks.

Hospitals should prevent novel coronavirus infection in a scientific way, avoiding both insufficient and excessive control, the mechanism said.

Counseling for people affected by outbreak

All provinces should work to strengthen counseling services and other psychological interventions for key groups affected by the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, the State Council's joint prevention and control mechanism to cope with the disease said.

People who should get special attention include patients and their family members, the relatives of patients who have died, and those who have been working on the front line during the outbreak, such as doctors, police officers and community workers.

Hospitals should follow the mental health condition of patients with novel coronavirus infections and have therapists and social workers provide counseling, the mechanism said in a plan issued on March 18. 

Regions that have been hit hard by the virus, such as Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, should organize teams of mental health experts to provide counseling for people who have recovered but are still in quarantine, and intervene when they suffer from anxiety, depression, insomnia and post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Community workers should help prevent discrimination by guiding their neighborhoods in ensuring the fair treatment of patients' family members and people who have recovered and returned home.

Civil affairs authorities and other public institutions should enhance their care for people whose family members have died from novel coronavirus pneumonia and help them get through their grief.

For underprivileged groups such as the impoverished and homeless, the authorities should encourage charity groups and social service institutions to provide care.