Chinese health official stresses scientific nature of COVID-19 prevention measures
BEIJING — The latest changes to COVID-19 control measures do not indicate a relaxation and are consistent with the country’s disease control efforts over the past two years, a senior official said Saturday.
They will also help alleviate pressures facing rural regions, where isolation rooms and contact tracing personnel are in relatively short supply, said Lei Haichao, vice-minister of the National Health Commission.
The remarks came after the State Council’s Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism released 20 measures aimed at optimizing disease control measures, which laid out changes ranging from quarantine periods for inbound visitors to designation of risky regions and contacts.
The new measures are scientifically devised and have taken into account the changes in the coronavirus and improvements in the country’s disease control expertise, he said at a news conference in Beijing.
The general principle was to put the disease under control with the minimum impact on economy and people’s lives so as to achieve safe development, he said.
Lei said: “Authorities have experienced the challenges of several cluster outbreaks, accumulated a lot of experience in prevention and control and gained new understanding of the virus’ transmission and treatment.”
The official noted China is a populous country with a large portion of elderly people, and overall health resources are “relatively insufficient” and even scarce in rural regions.
China has 6.7 hospital beds for every 1,000 residents and four ICU beds for every 100,000 residents, far lower than the number in developed countries.
The statistics mean that China’s disease-control policy must be prevention-oriented, which helps reduce the number of critically ill patients, he said, adding the country will continue to step up health personnel training, hospital and isolation facility construction.
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