BEIJING – COVID-19 – Multiple regions in China are seeing surging COVID-19 infections. As local governments respond, they say that they are taking swift and precise measures to prevent severe cases, protect people’s health, and build a barrier against the epidemic.
These measures include providing timely medical treatment, meeting medicine needs, improving health services for the elderly and other key groups, promoting COVID-19 vaccination, and strengthening epidemic prevention and control in rural areas.
Fever clinics in full swing
In recent days, multiple Chinese cities have opened fever clinics in gymnasiums or turned nucleic acid testing booths into temporary fever clinics to relieve the pressure of medical treatment and some of them operate 24 hours a day.
Besides, medical institutions at all levels are optimizing procedures, expanding resources, and increasing medical staff on duty to make every effort to address the urgent and anxious needs of the patients.
Such as Shanghai, fever clinics in 145 secondary and higher-level hospitals have been asked to be fully open to meet the needs of people for medical services.
Internet hospitals are also opened in many cities to ensure that residents can seek medical treatment without leaving their homes.
The Beijing municipal health commission said on Wednesday that 65,000 fever patients were treated in the city’s fever clinics, a decrease of 11 percent from the recent peak of 73,000. The demand for fever clinics has generally eased, it said.
Medical services prioritized in key groups
The National Health Commission has asked grassroots medical institutions to set up ledgers for special groups such as the elderly living alone, pregnant women and patients with underlying health conditions, to ensure necessary medical services.
It ordered local civil affairs departments to carry out thorough investigations in high-risk locations, including the assessment of drug reserves, medical treatment, health services, vaccination services and emergency response capabilities.
At a community health service center in Shanghai, family doctors were seen carefully assessing the health status of residents, paying special attention to the elderly over 80 years old, patients with chronic diseases, hemodialysis patients, cancer patients and pregnant women.
Epidemic prevention and control strengthened in rural areas
In response to the relative shortage of health service resources in rural areas and increased population flows during the New Year and Spring Festival holidays, when people working in cities often return to their hometowns, local governments are strengthening epidemic prevention and control and health services in rural areas.
The construction of fever clinics in township hospitals is an important part of epidemic prevention in rural areas.
Take the city of Jiaozhou in east China’s Shandong Province as an example. The Jiaozhou municipal health commission has set up 536 community medical points and organized 446 medical personnel and volunteers to provide medical services to villages.
There are at least two medical personnel in each village clinic and medical point, offering 24-hour medical services such as consultation, medicine dispense, and patient transfer for key groups.
Ramping up vaccination
In China, over 90 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated. Almost 87 percent of people over the age of 60 have been fully vaccinated, but only 66.4 percent of the people over 80 have completed a full course of vaccination.
With a population of 267 million aged above 60, China is accelerating vaccination among this group. In late November, the country released a work plan to improve the vaccination rate among the elderly.
Measures such as the “green channels” for the elderly are also adopted in different places to boost the vaccination rate.
With the optimization of epidemic control measures, the focus of China’s epidemic response strategy was shifted from infection control to case treatment with the objective of preventing severe cases.
China’s average life expectancy, a basic measure of national well-being, increased from 77.3 years in 2019 to 78.2 years in 2021, despite the gap in per capita medical resources and medical technology between the world’s most populous country and developed ones.
Upholding the people-centered philosophy, China managed to contain rounds of outbreaks. Facts and figures show some laudable “grade marks” of China’s epidemic response over the past three years and offer a glimpse into certain outlooks on endeavors toward the upcoming normal life.