Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in late 2019, China has gone all out to fight the disease. The speed, intensity and coverage of China’s response have been unprecedented in the world.
Since January 2020, infection figures of the disease within China have reduced drastically, with almost no deaths being reported currently. Almost all cases detected in the country today are imported.
Indeed, effectively curbing the disease did not happen by chance. China’s Government, led by President Xi Jinping, came up with, and implemented a series of measures to great effect.
The first strategy was setting up a unified principle and leadership. To fight such serious and massive pandemic, leadership and command are most important. From the beginning, China’s central government established the guiding principle as, “place people’s life, security and health above anything else”.
An Inter-agency Prevention and Central task force was set up, working efficiently to ensure all urgent issues were quickly resolved.
Secondly, China’s government mobilised what it called a “People’s War”. The entire nation was mobilised. All the 31 provinces in China’s mainland were activated to first-level public health emergency response, taking the most comprehensive and rigorous measures possible.
Various teams including experts, medical teams, engineers and construction workers were deployed to the worst-hit areas. The Chinese government allocated USD 9.4 billion for fighting the outbreak, with over 20 tons of medical supplies handled and delivered every hour. In addition, patient subsidy policies were implemented.
Both urban and rural citizens made joint efforts to prevent and contain the outbreak. Residents spontaneously formed patrol teams to supervise the work, with communities regularly sanitising compounds and making daily mandatory reports so as to cut off the transmission of the virus.
For the Chinese, the Spring Festival is always a golden season for family reunions, visiting friends, traveling and shopping. However, due to the pandemic, the entire population readily subjected themselves to home quarantine.
Instead of complaining, the people commented jokingly that, “staying at home is contributing to our country”. Citizens also managed to entertain themselves creatively through holding “cloud parties” and playing “dinner table tennis”. This portrayed both a high sense of discipline and humour of the Chinese people.
Thirdly, the Chinese decided to fight as one people. Hubei Province, and especially the Wuhan epicentre, was not left alone by the rest of the country. Over 23,000 medical staff were mobilised and deployed to Hubei to offer the much-needed support.
In a span of less than two weeks, two new specialised hospitals with over 2,600 beds for the new coronavirus treatment were constructed in Wuhan. A dozen of mobile cabin hospitals were also assembled to treat patients with mild COVID-19 symptoms.
Both the Central and Local governments made an emergency allocation of about US$ 10 billion worth of reserve medical supplies for protective suits, masks and medicine to Wuhan and Hubei Province, and the country as a whole. Today, most factories nationwide have resumed production of the medical supplies to relieve the shortage.
The fourth line of attack involved fighting using scientific measures. The Chinese Centre for Disease Control and other medical research institutes both at home and abroad managed to separate the virus, and are currently identifying a seed strain. Subsequently, China managed to develop detection devices and reagents to manage the virus nationwide.
Today, the best Chinese experts around the world are racing against time to develop treatment methods and prevention measures. China is also working closely with the World Health Organisation in undertaking relevant research, and develop new drugs and vaccines against the virus.
Prevention and control measures are continuously being improved and strengthened. In the last several weeks, patients have been diagnosed, reported, isolated, and treated within a very short time. People who have had close contact with patients are under close medical observation. All these are aimed at preventing further spread of the disease.
Most critical is the fifth strategy, which has involved Chinese authorities acting with utmost openness, promptness, and transparency. The Chinese government is working closely with the WHO in fighting the pandemic.
The Chinese authorities continue to update the data and status report on a daily basis, including sharing best practices with the international community. In Kenya, the Chinese Embassy has kept close touch with the government, particularly the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health, and Transport in coordinating prevention and control efforts.