China is taking more stringent measures in hospitals to safeguard healthcare workers amid the ongoing outbreak of pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus strain, and training for such employees will be enhanced nationwide, the country's top health authority said on Jan 22.
The National Health Commission revised protection standards and specifications for medical workers and strengthened prevention and control measures against the disease in hospitals, Jiao Yahui, deputy chief of the commission's medical administration and supervision department, said at a news conference.
The commission is providing additional training on the required infection control protocol to healthcare workers nationwide who treat infected people, Jiao said, adding that medical workers are on the front lines in the prevention and control of the outbreak. As evidence of human-to-human transmission has already been seen, including among healthcare workers, this demonstrates that there are gaps in treatment methods, she said.
Wang Guangfa, head of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at Beijing's Peking University First Hospital, is suspected of contracting the potentially fatal disease after visiting Wuhan, Hubei province, on Dec 31, CCTV reported on Tuesday, citing the hospital.
As of Jan 20, 15 medical workers in Wuhan have been confirmed and an additional one suspected of having contracted pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus. One of those 16 patients is in critical condition, and the rest are in stable condition. All are being treated in isolation, according to the Wuhan municipal health commission.
The infection of medical workers has also prompted unrelated hospital wards and departments to be highly vigilant in contagion prevention measures, and any hospital workers who show symptoms of the illness should seek immediate medical diagnosis and treatment, Jiao said.
Hospitals in Wuhan have been stepping up efforts to control infections occurring in hospitals to better protect medical staff and professionals and strengthen routine monitoring to detect suspected cases as early as possible.
Doctors are wearing protective clothing-such as hats, surgical masks, gowns and footwear coversto shield themselves from infection, CCTV reported, citing a video on social media platform Sina Weibo.
As healthcare workers are in proximity to patients, they are at high risk of infection. During the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, medical workers accounted for 19 percent of the 4,948 cases reported on the Chinese mainland.