Newly confirmed cases in Shanghai drop below 500 for 4 straight days
Authorities have been implementing disinfection and epidemic prevention measures on campuses across China to secure safer environments, said officials.
Liu Peijun, deputy director of the Department of Physical, Health and Arts Education of the Ministry of Education, said at a news conference on Friday that schools and universities are required to tighten epidemic prevention protocols and adjust teaching plans in accordance with practical conditions.
Liu said that key areas on campuses including canteens, dormitories and health centers should be managed with caution, while it's also important to organize regular random nucleic acid tests, prepare sufficient reserves of anti-epidemic gear as well as daily necessities, and optimize emergency response mechanisms.
"Whenever an outbreak occurs in surrounding areas, schools should arrange nucleic acid testing, mandate quarantines and transfer infected students as soon as possible to prevent outbreaks on campuses," he said.
Liu added that it's also necessary to attach high importance to students' psychological well-being, in addition to their academic performance amid outbreaks.
"To reduce the impact epidemics may have on students' studies, we've issued several guidelines for schools and local educational administrations to better dovetail on-site classes and online courses, and get both students and their parents informed of any changes in teaching plans due to the epidemic," he said.
In addition to epidemic prevention work on campuses, disinfection measures－which are of vital importance to prevent transmission－have also drawn much attention from both the general public and central authorities.
"Disinfection is an effective way to prevent transmission ... and plays a vital role in epidemic control work," Lei Zhenglong, deputy director of the National Health Commission's Bureau of Disease Prevention and Control, said at the news conference.
"But we've encountered some faulty disinfection practices. We will continue to improve training and supervision to make sure disinfection teams follow standards and procedures," he said.
Zhang Liubo, chief disinfection expert from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said it's important to disinfect in scientific ways to reduce health risks.
"We should avoid aimless and excessive disinfection. It's important to choose safer disinfectants and use correct methods. Also, disinfectants with higher concentrations or doses may not show better results, so it's necessary to follow instructions when using disinfectants," Zhang said.
He added that disinfecting households with positive cases is important to prevent infection among other family members, as contaminated items and the surroundings may still have contagions.
But residents must leave their homes during disinfection procedures and operators must wear protective gear.
Meanwhile, domestic COVID-19 outbreaks are trending steadily downward, with the number of new daily infections nationwide having dropped to fewer than 600－and fewer than 500 in Shanghai for four consecutive days.
"The overall situation is improving and coming under control," said Lei from the NHC. "But compared with other cities, Shanghai is still at higher risk and should be cautious of flare-ups at key facilities."
Wang Xiaoyu and Zou Shuo contributed to this story.