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Officials on COVID-19 in Beijing: Spread Is Contained yet Challenges Remain

2020/06/23

Beijing reported fewer new infections on 21 June, according to Xu Hejian, Deputy Head of the Communications Department of the CPC Beijing Committee, who also serves as Director of the Information Office and Spokesperson of the Beijing Municipal Government, at a press conference on Beijing's COVID-19 response on 22 June.

Xu said that the city government had managed to ascertain the level and scope of the latest transmission and identify the main risks as quickly as possible. The spread has been contained and the situation is turning for the better. Nevertheless, Beijing, as the nation's capital city, remains on high alert. Local authorities, line departments, employers and individuals must further step up to their responsibilities. All types of resources will be mobilized to cut off the chain of transmission in the earliest stages possible and fortify the whole-of-society response. The city will be watching all potentially susceptible sites and key medical facilities closely, such as medium-to-high risk neighborhoods, farm produce markets, supermarkets, restaurants, canteens, food manufacturers, major hospitals and community health centers, to eliminate all vulnerabilities and leave no chance to the virus.

Farm produce markets are the main targets in containing the virus. Their operators have a primary responsibility to keep the markets thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and aired, ensure proper personal protection, and strictly observe the inspection and quarantine requirements of cold chain foodstuffs.

Nucleic acid testing is vital to ensuring targeted COVID-19 response. It is crucial that the city's testing capacity is sufficiently expanded to complete all testing on time. The tests need to be better organized through ways such as online appointment to help people schedule their tests at separate hours and avoid crowding.

According to the Municipal Health Commission, to expand and reinforce Beijing's testing capacity, the National Health Commission has recently drafted 212 lab personnel from Hubei and Liaoning. They will form 10 testing teams and bring the equipment needed to assist 10 central and municipal hospitals in Beijing in the testing effort. This will increase Beijing's testing capacity by 30,000 samples per day.

【Frequently Asked Questions】How to avoid COVID-19 infection?

Advice from Dr. Li Suying, National Health Commission expert and chief physician at Beijing Youan Hospital, Capital Medical University: do wash hands with running water after touching public surfaces, such as elevator buttons; in case running water is not available, use tissues to avoid direct contact; and when going out, be sure to carry disinfectant wipes to clean hands whenever necessary.

Also important: develop good hygiene habits; do not litter or spit in public; and after coming home from public places, turn the clothing inside out and hang it away before washing hands and changing into clean clothes and slippers. People are encouraged to self-monitor their health conditions more closely and step up personal protection. Should any symptoms occur, they must immediately seek medical attention. Do not self-prescribe medication, as this could delay proper diagnostics.

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