Xi prioritizes epidemic control efforts

Updated: Feb 4, 2020 China Daily Print
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President expresses respect for medical workers on front line at Party meeting

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, urged concrete efforts on Monday to race against time in combating the novel coronavirus and winning the battle of prevention and control of the contagion.

Xi made the remark while presiding over a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in Beijing. It was the second such meeting in 10 days regarding the battle against the outbreak, with the number of cumulative confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland reaching 17,205, including 361 deaths as of Feb 2.

Xi stressed that the epidemic prevention and control efforts directly matter to people's lives, health, overall socioeconomic stability and the country's opening-up drive. He said the key to the issue is to earnestly implement relevant measures and policies.

The epidemic's prevention and control is not only a matter of medical treatment, but involves all-around efforts, so all work should support fighting the virus, Xi said, urging local governments and Party committees at various levels to obey the command of the CPC Central Committee.

Xi warned that officials who fail to honestly implement decisions and policies made by the CPC Central Committee and shirk their responsibilities will be held accountable, and those who neglect their duties will be punished in accordance with Party discipline and the law.

He also commended the all-around efforts in the prevention and control of the contagion and expressed respect for medical workers fighting on the front line, saying the nation has launched a people's war against the epidemic.

Participants at the meeting stressed that further efforts should be focused on curbing the spread of the virus in Wuhan, Hubei province, and the province at large, so as to better contain the epidemic, according to a statement released after the meeting.

All-out efforts should be made to treat infected people, ensure adequate supply of protective materials and endeavor to raise the recovery rate and decrease the mortality rate, it said.

Participants stressed the importance of scientific research in identifying the sources of the novel coronavirus and its mode of transmission, and they called for efforts to research and develop effective drugs and vaccines.

Coordinated efforts are needed to allocate the resources of medical treatment and personal protective gear to the front line and priority should be given to medics and infected people, the statement said.

Participants at the meeting also called for strengthening community-based prevention and control efforts and make every effort to prevent the spread of the virus amid the massive population flows after the Spring Festival holiday, the statement said.

The meeting urged strengthened measures to crack down on criminal activities including using the epidemic as an excuse to inflate prices and selling fake or low-quality drugs and medical supplies.

It also underlined the importance of releasing authoritative information about the epidemic to address public concerns in a timely manner, and called for continuing to communicate and coordinate with the World Health Organization and relevant countries and regions to promote information sharing and policy coordination, the statement added.

Market oversight should be intensified to eliminate and crack down on trading of wild animals to safeguard public health, it said.

The meeting also underlined the need to closely monitor the impact of the outbreak on the nation's economy. It stressed that while strengthening measures in the fight against the virus, coordinated efforts should also be made to promote reform, development and stability, particularly the key task of attaining the goal of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society and winning the battle against absolute poverty by the end of this year, the statement said.

The novel coronavirus outbreak may reach its peak in the next 10 to 14 days, Zhong Nanshan, a leading expert tackling the virus, said on Sunday, amending his previous prediction on Jan 28 that the epidemic would peak in seven or 10 days.

Zhong stressed the most effective preventive measures are still early detection and quarantine. "The outbreak is still at its growth phase, but we believe it won't lead to a massive nationwide epidemic, only regional ones if they occur."

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