China is fine-tuning its regular COVID-19 control policies to stem the novel coronavirus's faster spread in winter, an official of the National Health Commission said on Jan 13.
Despite recent outbreaks in different parts of the country, the overall epidemic situation in China is under control, said Wang Bin, an official at the commission's disease prevention and control bureau, during a news conference.
In terms of preventing imported infections, Wang said the commission has teamed up with authorities in foreign affairs, transport and customs to implement pre-departure disease control measures targeting incoming passengers.
The new policy requires overseas travelers to present certificates of both negative nucleic acid test results and negative lgM antibody test results before boarding.
"Meanwhile, we have intensified testing and disinfection on cold-chain imports and transportation vehicles involved in shipping them," she said. "Cold-chain workers are also required to take regular nucleic acid tests."
In response to the rising number of domestic infection clusters, Wang said a vital step is to conduct regular tests on people considered at higher risk of contracting the virus, in order to identify new infections as soon as possible.
It is also important to test key venues, such as agricultural markets and medical institutions, to rapidly detect contamination, she said.
Because other respiratory viruses are also likely to circulate faster during the winter, Wang said hospitals are required to speed up testing and explore new methods to test multiple illnesses at the same time.
She added China will draw from its experiences in fighting the epidemic to better prepare for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
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