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Experts called in to help deal with coronavirus-related pneumonia

Updated: Jan 21,2020 01:58 PM

Two academicians were invited to the State Council's executive meeting on Jan 20 to advise on the prevention and control of the new coronavirus-related pneumonia.

Zhong Nanshan, a renowned respiratory expert, offered specific suggestions on how to curb the spread of the epidemic, and Li Lanjuan, an expert in infectious diseases, gave her suggestions on how to strengthen the prevention, control and treatment of the epidemic.

"The reason we invited the two experts today is to study and define the epidemic from a scientific perspective, in order to prevent and respond to it in a more effective way," Premier Li Keqiang said at the meeting.

"The professional advice provided by the two experts is very important for us to make scientific decisions in the next step."

It was decided at the meeting that China will take further steps to control the new coronavirus-related pneumonia, and put the disease under management.

Government departments and local governments have taken a host of measures to tackle the pneumonia, including promptly activating fever clinics and undertaking all-coverage screening. Diagnostic methods and reagents for the new pneumonia are improving.

"We are in the middle of the Spring Festival travel rush, when a huge number of people are moving around the country, so further prevention and control must be targeted," the Premier said, adding that it would be best to fully estimate the seriousness of the situation, and strengthen risk awareness and responsibility, and ensure the normal lives of people while effectively curbing the spread of the epidemic.

"All prevention and control measures needed must be duly delivered, and inter-agency efforts enhanced to ensure earliest possible detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment of the disease, and to keep the fatality rate at the minimal possible level. Precautions in hospitals should be strengthened," Premier Li said.

It was decided at the meeting that high-caliber personnel and medical resources will be pooled in tackling the disease. Sufficient funding will be made available to provide patients, particularly those suffering severe conditions, with the best possible care. The meeting urged tight control of infection at hospitals and precautionary measures for medical workers.

It was also decided at the meeting that corresponding prevention and control measures will be launched to tackle the pneumonia as a public health emergency. The measures of prevention and control will be particularly enhanced in the city of Wuhan, where the markets concerned will be shut down, wildlife control tightened, and fever screening required at airports, bus and train stations, and ports.

Local governments must, in light of their local conditions, carry out ventilation, sterilization and temperature taking as needed in key venues and public transportation facilities. At the same time, the monitoring, pre-examination and triage of the disease must be stepped up to ensure that infections will be promptly detected and effectively handled.

"The government should make timely updates about the disease and be highly responsive to public concerns to shape an objective and rational public attitude toward the disease," he added. The meeting also called for closer communication and cooperation with the World Health Organization, the countries concerned, and the regions of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

On the basis of the identified pathogens, efforts must be made identify the source of infection and the route of its transmission as soon as possible, closely follow the changes in virulence and transmission power of the virus, and be technically prepared to respond to any changes in the epidemic, the Premier said.

He emphasized that all related departments, especially the medical system, must stick to their posts during Spring Festival, and make efforts for emergency treatment, effectively protecting people's health and safety.