Prevention and control measures should be in place, with constant vigilance against the risk of resurgence, even after the COVID-19 epidemic has been largely brought under control in China, said a notice issued on Jan 20 by the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism against COVID-19.
Efforts require a stronger emergency command system supported by detailed prevention and control targets, plans and practices, as well as work teams responsible for nucleic acid testing, epidemiological surveys and source tracing, quarantine, regional coordination and traffic control.
The system should work 24 hours nonstop for speedy response in case of any outbreaks, and for areas seeing COVID-19 clusters, it should come together with a provincial front line command center.
The notice required cities with less than 5 million permanent population to be able to complete nucleic acid tests for all residents within two days, and bigger cities within three to five days.
To support testing, personnel and equipment shortages should be overcome in a timely manner, with the help of disease prevention and control agencies, medical institutions and third-party testing companies.
Nucleic acid tests should be conducted at least once a week for high-risk groups such as workers handling cold-chain foods, employees in the service sector should be periodically sampled for testing, and some key places should be subject to regular environmental assessment.
In launching epidemiological surveys and source tracing, departments in charge of disease prevention and control, public security, industry and information technology, communications and transportation, among others, should enhance coordination.
Each region should earmark sufficient ready-to-use rooms to quarantine close and sub-close contacts of confirmed patients, with more stringent control over those in high-risk regions.
To avoid cross-infections, workers at quarantine sites should be trained to follow requirements for meal delivery, disinfection, waste disposal and other services.
Infectious disease hospitals with capacity for comprehensive treatment and general hospitals qualified in respiratory infectious disease control and prevention should be appointed as designated hospitals, and no less than 10 percent of the total beds should be available for intensive care.
All regions should take epidemic control and prevention in rural areas as top priority. The surrounding areas of airports, urban-rural fringe areas and rural areas with more returning migrant workers should take more care. Workers in service industry in urban-rural fringe areas, especially those who work in cold-chain logistics companies, should take more frequent nucleic acid tests. Returning workers during Spring Festival should be registered and accept daily health monitoring.
Public places like markets, fairs, function rooms for villagers, chess and card rooms should be strictly monitored, and populated institutions such as nursing homes, welfare institutions and prisons should also strictly implement epidemic prevention and control measures.
Confirmed cases, suspected cases and asymptomatic carriers should be reported through the internet within two hours by medical institutions that receive their positive test results. Regions with cases should hold daily news conferences.
People should be guided to form good health habits and modes of living. They should always wear masks, wash their hands frequently, and avoid going to populated areas. Living materials and home heating must be guaranteed for people who do not return home during the upcoming Spring Festival.