By Li Longyi, Han Xin
Some positive results have been achieved by China in the fight against the novel coronavirus in Wuhan and Hubei province at large, and the strict control measures were showing signs of progress, said Ding Xiangyang, deputy secretary-general of the State Council, or the cabinet, at a press conference Thursday in Wuhan, February 20.
Ding, also a member of the central government’s steering group for epidemic, noted that the number of new cases has slowed in Wuhan and surrounding cities, in contrast with the explosive growth in the past. It is believed that this downward trend will continue, he added.
The number of new confirmed cases in Wuhan has fallen from around 4,000 per day about a week ago to less than 2,000 this week, and the number of suspected cases also dropped from a peak of 18,000 earlier this month to around 2,000, Ding introduced.
However, arduous tasks are still ahead as there are still over 30,000 patients in Wuhan receiving treatment, as well as thousands in severe and critical conditions, Ding said.
He called on all Chinese people to set their jaws to launch a final strike back at the virus with firmer confidence, stronger will and more decisive measures.
Lian Weiliang, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission introduced that a total of 336,000 N95 masks and 133,000 protective suits were collected across the country and supplied to Hubei. Under concerted efforts, the supplies for medical personnel on the frontlines to fight the novel coronavirus epidemic are guaranteed though they were once in severe shortage.
To enlarge the total capacity of hospitals, Wuhan has designated more medical institutions to receive infected patients and built makeshift hospitals for those with mild symptoms. Besides, it has also transformed qualified quarantine sites into quarantine treatment centers.
By Feb. 20, the city had offered 30,000 beds at designated hospitals, 25,000 at Fang Cang makeshift hospitals, and 4,000 at quarantine treatment centers, Lian said.
He noted that the country will keep enhancing medical supply and accelerate the release of new capacities, as well as guarantee quality and strengthen quality inspection. The supply of medical equipment such as breathing machines, ECG monitors, and blood-gas analyzers must be ensured. Special demand must be addressed with special measures, he said, adding that everything comes after saving lives and shall follow the primary principle of speed.
Yu Yanhong, deputy head of the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, noted that initial progress has been achieved in the combination of traditional Chinese and Western medicine in treating the novel coronavirus. The traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been applied both widely and intensively, and a batch of effective prescription medicines and Chinese patent drugs have been found effective in treating the virus based on the close cooperation between Chinese and western medicine.
Treatment practices indicate that early intervention of TCM and the combined treatment of TCM and Western medicine are an important method to improve recovery rate and lower mortality rate, which also marks a significant character of the treatment.
Yu said, clinical practices prove that the combination is effective, and can rapidly improve the condition of patients with mild symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, and weakness, and cut the duration of hospital stays.
Experts also find that the combination can help prevent mild symptoms from developing into severe and critical conditions, thus reducing the death rate of the disease. Yu noted that TCM can effectively improve the number of lymphocytes, an indicator of patient recovery.
By Feb. 19, a total of 32,395 medical staff from 278 teams has been dispatched to Hubei, and more are battling on the frontline across the country. Meanwhile, the newly reported cases of infection outside Hubei has fallen for 16 days straight, and Wednesday marked the second day when recovered patients outnumbered the new confirmed cases. The widening difference indicates effective treatment and relieved pressure on the medics.