V. Allocation of resources and guarantee of supplies
China leveraged its institutional strength of mobilizing resources for major undertakings, establishing a nationwide mechanism against the pandemic. On the one hand, it promoted the national spirit of "When disasters strike, help comes from all sides", harnessed the strength of the whole country to support severely affected areas, prioritized the national effort to aid Hubei province and its capital Wuhan to win the "war to safeguard Hubei" and "war to safeguard Wuhan", coordinated and pooled resources from the country and the army to ensure timely and reliable supply to "the main battlefield".
On the other hand, China effectively allocated domestic resources, streamlined organizational structures and manufacturing, enhanced the emergency-response provision of medical supplies and daily necessities, strictly investigated and severely punished illegal acts such as price gouging and making and selling of fake products, ensured logistics support and laid a solid foundation for fighting the pandemic.
1. Hubei gets national health workforce support
— The largest allocation of medical resources since the founding of New China was made. Professional medical workers from across the nation were dispatched to alleviate the stress and adversity caused by depletion of medical resources in severely affected areas. More than 42,000 health workers in 340 medical aid teams gathered from across the country, including 30 provinces/autonomous regions/municipalities, the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and the People's Liberation Army (PLA), treating patients along with local colleagues. This was a key measure to increase the cure rate and reduce the mortality rate in severely affected areas.
— The experience from relief efforts during the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake was duplicated, among which were "pairing assistance" and "military assistance". All-out support to Wuhan was provided by coordinating the country's resources, which were allocated to cities in Hubei, in the organizational pattern of "a province paired to a city" to aid prefectural-level cities of Hubei province. Specific organizational patterns including "province/autonomous region/municipality paired to a designated hospital", "hospital paired to a designated department", and "taking over special wards (for patients with severe symptoms) of designated hospitals with a complete structural system" were implemented. All these measures effectively resolved the local imbalance between medical supplies and treatment requirements. The PLA, apart from sending over 4,000 medical staff to Wuhan, also dispatched cargo aircraft to urgently deliver support goods. In addition, the PLA undertook medical treatment in Huoshenshan Hospital — one of the newly-built special facilities in Wuhan. More than 10,000 medical personnel from 63 designated hospitals in the army were sent to frontline.
— National experts were pooled to give comprehensive instructions on prevention and control, diagnosis and treatment. The nation's top experts in respiratory diseases and critical care medicine gathered in Wuhan, and intervened in the diagnosis and treatment at the early stages of the outbreak. Under the coordination of the guidance group sent by the central government, expert teams led by leading scientists arrived in Wuhan, conducted epidemiological inspections in designated hospitals, prescribed diagnosis and treatment procedures, assisted Hubei province including Wuhan and the nation at large to improve consultation and treatment of complex and critical cases. The experts also worked on new drugs and therapies, and included efficacious remedies in the protocol for nationwide promotion. A national expert group in nosocomial infection control was sent to guide prevention and control, conduct training, and enhance the safety of medical workers.
2. Tremendous efforts made in medical supplies manufacturing
— The production capacity of medical supplies and equipment rose rapidly with the promotion of "production resumption" and "switch of production" models. Thanks to the comprehensive industrial production system, enterprises in medical equipment and materials, overcame difficulties including shortage of manpower, resumed production rapidly and vastly expanded production scale. Other enterprises with flexibility promptly changed their lines of production to produce medical materials. Thousands of them switched to produce medical supplies, including face masks, protective suits, disinfectants, digital thermometers and medical instruments, and expanded the manufacturing and provision of essential supplies. Within a short time, the daily production capacity of face masks — including disposable masks, surgical masks and medical protective masks (KN95) — exceeded 110 million; more than 1.5 million disposable medical protective suits were made, and 400,000 hand-held infrared thermometers manufactured. The daily supply of test kits reached nearly 350,000 by the beginning of March. Meanwhile, the supply chains and logistic conduits were smooth. Supplies from every corner of the country were continuously delivered to Hubei. In just a month, the daily allocation of medical protective suits jumped from 21,000 to 270,000, and KN95 masks from 72,000 to 562,000.
— Technological support was strengthened to provide services to the public. Services including online consultation, live streaming of expert lectures, and medical training were provided. Making full use of the remote visual medical treatment system and widely adopting AI-assisted surgical equipment based on the 5G network not only partially met medical care needs of other patients amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but also prevented hospital-acquired infections. The National Health Commission issued a series of technical guidance and regulations to standardize the use of protective equipment and protective procedures to significantly minimize the infection rate among medical personnel. Finally, a zero-infection rate was achieved for more than 40,000 medical staff aiding Hubei.
3. Coordinated allocation of daily necessities
— The central government's coordination and joint efforts ensured ample supplies of major daily necessities. Various departments of the State Council worked together to ensure the production, storage and stable prices of daily necessities in the whole country, especially Hubei province. Frozen pork was released from the central reserve and a "special-offer vegetable package" was made available. Major agricultural provinces transported vegetables from the south to the north of the country, while production of "vegetable basket" items was increased. The action plan of "ensuring price, quality and supply" was launched, and emergency delivery teams were formed to ease the long-term homebound isolation measures in Wuhan and the rest of Hubei province.
— Supply delivery was integrated into residential community services to ensure safe and timely delivery of daily necessities to people's homes. Wuhan adopted a grid-pattern management of residential communities, through which the "last mile" of daily supply delivery from supermarkets to residential communities was opened up. Goods were directly distributed to households and contactless distribution and delivery enabled vegetables and meat that had met pandemic prevention standards to reach residential communities, relieving residents' worries while they were under home isolation.
— Internet technologies to extensively popularize "contactless consumption" were made full use of. Advanced "internet + logistics" distribution and e-commerce platforms ensured the entire process from order placement and distribution to payments nationwide. Parcels were delivered through various ways including being deposited at the property management service provider, dropped off at an agreed location or stored in delivery lockers. Potential risks of infection at supermarkets, shops and farmers' markets were thus minimized. The complete industrial supply chain of funds, transportation and delivery operated smoothly.
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