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Response downgraded, but battle goes on

As of Wednesday, 13 provincial-level regions had downgraded their public health emergency response level in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

Guizhou, Yunnan, Qinghai, Gansu and Liaoning provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions have downgraded their response from level 1 to 3; and Shanxi, Jiangsu, Sichuan, Anhui, Guangdong provinces and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region from level 1 to 2.

The changes signal the epidemic has become less severe in these places.

If the level is lowered from 1 to 2, it means emergency response work will no longer be directed by the State Council, China's Cabinet, but by the provincial-level government. If it is lowered from 1 to 3, it means the response will now be directed by the prefecture-level government.

In the provincial-level regions that have lowered the emergency response level, the epidemic situation has gradually stabilized, with many regions reporting no new confirmed infections for several days. Gansu, which changed its emergency response to level 3, recorded no new confirmed cases and just two deaths between Feb 18 and Sunday. Liaoning and Guizhou have reported no fresh infections since Feb 17 and only one and two deaths respectively.

After downgrading their emergency response levels, these regions can gradually resume industrial production and reopen markets. During a recent meeting, President Xi Jinping said that as the epidemic situation improves, regions that meet certain conditions should downgrade their response level and promote production.

However, downgrading the response levels does not mean one can breathe easy, as the "turning point" is still to come. If new infection cases are still seen nationwide, the epidemic prevention and control work must go on.




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