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Beijing Municipal Health Commission: No Lowering of Standards Just for Getting the Case Number to Zero

2020/05/13

At a press briefing on Beijing's COVID-19 response on 12 May, Director of the Beijing Municipal Health Commission Lei Haichao said that the recent period saw two to three patients cured and discharged from hospital in Beijing every day. With just 13 patients still under hospital treatment, it will not be too long before the number of hospitalized cases drops to zero in the city. But even when that happens, there must be no letup in COVID-19 control, still less any lowering of guard.

Lei pointed out that bringing the case number to zero is what all want to see, but health authorities will not lower medical care and treatment standards just for the sake of getting the number to zero. Even when the number does drop to zero, Beijing will still face a big challenge in COVID-19 response given its close ties with other parts of China and the rest of the world.

Internationally, case numbers in Europe and North America, two epicenters of COVID-19, are still growing, and confirmed cases in Latin America and Africa continue to rise.

Domestically, certain provinces have once again reported cluster cases after the Labor Day holiday, pointing to still considerable pressure in preventing resurgence in the country.

In Beijing, it was only two weeks ago that the level of public health emergency response was adjusted from level one to level two and the first batch of students returned to campus. And during the Labor Day holiday, over six million people traveled in and out of Beijing.

What impact these uncertainties will bring to COVID-19 containment for the coming days and weeks needs to be observed and ascertained. As such, even when the number of hospitalized cases in Beijing does come down to zero, there must be no slackening of efforts, still less lowering of guard.

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