Stricter moves to curb imported infections

来源: 粤港澳头条   时间:2020-05-10 09:56:09

A transportation department worker guides a Russian driver maneuvering his truck at a warehouse on April 22. (PAN SONGGANG/FOR CHINA DAILY)

China has scaled up control measures along its land borders against possible importation of novel coronavirus infections while maintaining normal economic and trade exchanges, officials said on Friday.

The pandemic in neighboring countries is escalating rapidly, and there is mounting pressure placed on China's land borders, Li Bin, deputy head of the National Health Commission, said at a news conference held by State Council Information Office.

"Our border frontier regions are comparatively weak in the prevention and control of major epidemic outbreaks, and are barely capable of meeting the needs of disease monitoring, lab testing, quarantine or medical treatment," Li said.

In response to such concerns, the country has strengthened interprovincial contagion prevention and control efforts and coordinated the allocation of medical resources, giving priority to ensuring the needs at border crossings, he said.

The commission has also sent out expert teams to eight border regions in a bid to help formulate and improve region-specific disease control plans, Li said, adding that local governments should intensify infection screenings, closed-loop management and healthcare services.

Li also said that so far several border regions have stepped up construction of biosafety laboratories and nucleic acid testing facilities and expanded epidemic prevention and control teams to effectively improve their ability to cope with outbreaks. New regulations have also been established.

The commission said the country had registered 1,680 imported infections as of Thursday. The number of patients being hospitalized at present stands at 260, and 219 of them are imported cases, according to the commission.

While imposing stricter border control measures to stave off infections via land crossings, China has also been streamlining transportation channels to safeguard economic and trade exchanges, said the Ministry of Transport.

Liu Xiaoming, vice-minister of transport, said that there are a total of 80 inland ports in the country, of which 65 can provide passenger and freight transportation services, and 34 ports are currently open.

"The remaining ports have played a significant role in promoting personnel exchanges and economic and trade cooperation with neighboring countries and regions," Liu said.

The 34 operating ports now allow only commodity flows, but for a small number of people who still need to cross borders, transport authorities are working together with customs and health control departments to ensure such travelers are managed in a "closed loop" to minimize the risk of the contagion spreading, he added.

Truck drivers are also put under strict management, with most foreign drivers required to enter and leave China on the same day. Transport companies are encouraged to frequently conduct nucleic acid tests on their drivers, Liu said.

Li of the NHC said that as the spread of the virus overseas has not yet been effectively curbed, and with case clusters still being reported in a few areas in China, the country has promoted updated effective practices for regular contagion prevention and control.

China will continue to detect and screen cases in a timely manner by adhering to the principle of "early detection, early reporting, early diagnosis and early isolation", and delineate outbreak zones to minimize transmission risk, he said.

The country will open public places in an orderly manner, strengthen grid-based community management and guide epidemic prevention and control in key institutions such as hospitals, clinics and schools, Li added.

Health authorities are also urged to improve nucleic acid testing capabilities and expand the scope of tests for key groups. Local governments should adjust emergency response levels in light of the changing situation and optimize emergency plans, he said.