Relevant departments in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, have been urged to further enhance their sense of urgency in the fight against COVID-19 in the days to come.
Tighter, stricter and more accurate policies and measures should soon be taken to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the northwestern metropolis, said Liu Guozhong, secretary of the Shaanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China.
"Xi'an is the decisive destination in the fight against the pandemic and only when the outbreak in Xi'an has been put under control can we fundamentally reverse the passive situation in the entire province," Liu stressed.
"Other cities should support Xi'an's fight against the pandemic when the pandemic situation in their cities have been brought under control," Liu said at a work conference on Thursday as Shaanxi's number of confirmed COVID-19 patients continued to grow.
According to statistics released by the provincial health commission, Shaanxi reported 165 confirmed cases on Thursday, pushing the province's total of number COVID-19 patients to 1,301 as of Thursday.
Of the newly reported patients, 161 were detected in Xi'an. By the end of Thursday, Xi'an had reported 1,277 confirmed cases in this outbreak that started Dec 9.
Yang Lianchang, deputy director of the Shaanxi Provincial Health Commission, said the epidemic situation in Xi'an and Shaanxi province is still in a critical period, as there was still a certain proportion of cases detected from local communities, and the risk of community spread still exists.
"Relevant departments have organized medical experts and senior doctors to help treat the patients," he said at a news conference on Friday.
He urged locals to go out less and shun any party or gathering to reduce the risk of being infected.
According to Xu Mingfei, vice-mayor of Xi'an, the city has started another new round of citywide nucleic acid testing campaign starting Friday at 3 pm to help seek possible patients and asymptomatic carriers, aiming to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in local communities.
In the previous round of nucleic testing from 10 am Thursday to 10 am Friday, more than 11.8 million residents were tested, with 88 tested positive, he said.
Xu said six patients have now been discharged from designated hospitals, and more patients will also be discharged in the days to come.
Xu urged residents to actively cooperate with relevant departments to have nucleic acid tests while trying to protect themselves from being infected.
"Relevant departments will go all out to ensure adequate supplies of food, medicine and related anti-pandemic materials and ensure good social and community order to help fight against the pandemic," he said.
Price gouging and related illegal events would be strictly cracked down upon, Xu added.
Liu Shunzhi, director of Xi'an City Health Commission, said all the patients detected on Thursday have only mild symptoms and all have been sent to designated hospitals for treatment.
The newly confirmed cases－81 men and 80 women－include four children aged under three and 16 seniors over 60.
And earlier this week, Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan urged relevant departments to introduce more resolute and decisive measures to quickly contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in Xi'an.
Sun made her remarks when she made an inspection tour of Xi'an on Wednesday.