Latest developments in epidemic control on Feb 21 (1)

Feb. 22, 2020

Updated: 2020-02-21

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

— China's latest diagnosis and treatment scheme of the novel coronavirus disease has deleted the category of clinically diagnosed cases.

Clinically diagnosed cases, added to the fifth version of the scheme earlier this month only for the hardest-hit Central China's Hubei province, refer to suspected cases with pneumonia-related computerized tomography (CT) scan results.

— China's consumer market is likely to stabilize and bottom out by March as the influence of the epidemic fades away.

— Patients of novel coronavirus will have their treatment payments covered by medical insurance and fiscal funds.

— China will lower or waive employers' contributions to the old-age pension, unemployment and workplace safety insurance schemes to help them tide over the novel coronavirus outbreak.

— China will adopt multiple measures to further protect its medical workers as they fight on the front line and expose themselves to dangers amid the novel coronavirus outbreak

The key supplies for medical personnel on the front line are generally guaranteed, and the supplies of living materials are basically abundant.

— Officials have paid a silent tribute to medics and patients who lost their lives during the fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The medical personnel have been working continuously on the front line, and they have displayed a strong sense of love and kindness, Ding Xiangyang, deputy secretary-general of the State Council, or the cabinet, said at a press conference on Feb 20 in Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak in Hubei province.

— Altogether 29 foreign nationals in China have been infected with the novel coronavirus as of 6 pm on Feb 19.

— The combination of traditional Chinese and Western medicine in treating novel coronavirus is proved effective, said Yu Yanhong, an official with the National Health Commission, at a video press conference Feb 20.

The method can rapidly improve the condition of patients with mild symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, weakness and lack of appetite, and cut the duration of hospital stays, said Yu.

— No new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus were reported on Feb 19 in nine provincial-level regions of China, according to local health authorities on Feb 20.

The regions included Liaoning, Fujian, Shanxi, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Guizhou, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia and Qinghai.

— As of Feb 19, a total of 278 teams consisting of 32,395 medical workers across the country have been sent to Hubei province to join in the battle against the virus.

— Libraries and bookstores have joined hands to build 18 mini-libraries in temporary hospitals in Wuhan to lend "spiritual support" to patients there.

The libraries have been installed in all temporary hospitals and six others yet to be opened, according to the culture and tourism department of Hubei province.

— To ensure the safety of the drainage networks of Wuhan, the city has been carrying out disinfection of its drainage and sewage disposal facilities, the city's water authority said on Feb 20.

The water authority has carried out disinfection targeting hospital sewage outlets. In communities with high epidemic spread risks and in centralized isolation venues, intensive disinfection has been performed targeting pipeline joints, septic tanks and sewage wells.

— Kang Seung Seok, the new consul general of the Republic of Korea (ROK) in Wuhan, arrived in the city on Feb 20, bringing relief supplies donated by local governments, enterprises and the private sector of the ROK.

— China reported 394 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 114 deaths on Feb 19 from 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.

Among the deaths, 108 were in Hubei province and one in Hebei, Shanghai, Fujian, Shandong, Yunnan and Shaanxi, respectively. Another 1,277 new suspected cases were reported on Feb 19.

— China's daily number of newly cured and discharged novel coronavirus patients has surpassed that of new confirmed infections for a second consecutive day.

Feb 19 saw 1,779 people walk out of hospital after recovery, much higher than the number of the same day's new confirmed infections, which was 394.

A total of 16,155 patients infected with the novel coronavirus had been discharged from hospitals after recovery by the end of Feb 19.

— China's daily new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus outside Hubei, have dropped for 16 consecutive days. A total of 45 new confirmed cases were reported on Feb 19 outside Hubei, down from 890 on Feb 3.

— Hubei province reported 349 new confirmed cases and 108 new deaths on Feb 19. The latest report brought the total confirmed cases in the hard-hit province to 62,031.

— China has gone all out to treat novel coronavirus patients both with mild symptoms and in severe conditions alike in the epicenter city of Wuhan as the number of hospital beds reserved for patients has risen to about 40,000 and the supporting medical personnel over 30,000.

— Procuratorial organs across China have prosecuted 290 suspects on charges related to the prevention and control of the epidemic.

— Over 100 cities in China have adopted QR codes to facilitate the control of the novel coronavirus and work resumption.

The QR codes, produced with the mobile app Alipay, are based on the users' movements over the previous two weeks and tell whether users have been to virus-hit areas. All cities in the provinces of Zhejiang, Sichuan and Hainan have adopted health QR codes, with 15 million people registered for the QR codes in Zhejiang alone.