As coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the world, China took some radical measures to halt the spread of this viral infection. These measures slowed the coronavirus, hospitals overflowing with COVID-19 patients a few weeks ago now have empty beds. China allowed a WHO mission on a tour of five cities in China to study the state of the COVID-19 epidemic and the effectiveness of the country’s response.
The findings surprised several of the visiting scientists. They said “China’s bold approach to contain the rapid spread of this new respiratory pathogen has changed the course of a rapidly escalating and deadly epidemic,” it says. “This decline in COVID-19 cases across China is real.”
China’s response to the virus has included social distancing, city-wide lockdowns of Wuhan and surrounding areas for more than a month, extensive public monitoring of citizens, as well as various methods of punishment and rewards to encourage adherence to such measures.
Due to these actions, China reported less than 100 new cases in the past week. Italy and Iran have surpassed China’s death toll and the rate at which the virus is still spreading is alarming.
Scientists believe that the biggest factor in China’s containment of the virus is the aggressive use of quarantines. In Wuhan, authorities converted stadiums and other facilities into mass quarantine centers and built more than a dozen temporary hospitals to house patients with less severe symptoms.
“Until this year, the argument favored those against such measures on the basis that it would cause too many other negative impacts to the affected society and economy,” said Nicholas Thomas, an associate professor focusing on health security at the City University of Hong Kong. “What we have seen in China does not fully counter those arguments but it does call for more nuance in the way we approach future outbreaks.”
Here are a few things that the Chinese did to halt the spread of the novice virus.
- They accurately identified the genetic sequence of the virus within a week.
- Took aggressive measures.
- Keep essentials like food and supplies flowing through organized, government-controlled arrangements.
- Designate infectious disease care and management facilities to isolate, monitor and treat positive cases.
- Establish electronic recording and tracking systems and local response teams to handle identified cases 24/7.
- Establish centralized reporting and communication channels to keep citizens informed
- Used big data and information technology
- Reinforced their medical teams by extra personnel and the latest medical equipment in Wuhan to combat the virus.
- They kept the public informed about any latest developments.