Wuhan wages total war at novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak

By GT staff reporters Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/10 21:23:40

All suspected cases of infection to be tested by Tuesday: officials

A Wuhan resident (left) infected with the coronavirus awaits transport to quarantine from Wuchang district on Sunday. Top authorities are urging the Central China city to round up the infected as quickly as possible to cut off contagious channels during the outbreak. Photo: Cui Meng/GT

Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province and the epicenter of the novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) outbreak, has sounded the horn of total war to combat the epidemic, as more than 16,000 public service servants and college teachers have been mobilized to help carpet screen the city to make sure timely and concentrated admission and treatment of all patients needing medical assistance. 

All of the 1,499 newly discovered confirmed cases of novel coronavirus pneumonia patients who were in critical condition and not in hospital, have all been transferred to hospitals as of Monday noon, as result of the city's step-up efforts over the last two days, Wuhan officials announced at a press conference on Monday. 

Wuhan government has also given health examination for 10.59 million of its residents, about 99 percent of the city's population, as of Sunday, Wuhan Party chief Ma Guoqiang said at the press conference. 

Efforts to test all suspected cases of infection are still underway, Wuhan officials said, while vowing to accomplish the goal by Tuesday.

The city dispatched on Sunday a total of 16,739 people including Party officials, employees from state-owned enterprises and institutions as well as faculty members from colleges and universities to the most heavily epidemic-hit communities to run the carpet screen of the four-type personnel in a round-the-clock fashion to make sure the thorough coverage of the four-type personnel in the city. The four types of personnel include patients of confirmed cases, suspected cases of the virus infection, patients with fever symptoms and those who have close contact with the patients involved. 

"The 'admission of all possible patients' of the novel coronavirus infection in Wuhan would mark the most fundamental and foremost task accomplished toward a key victory in the war of combating the epidemic, based on which the country could make scientific policies on next stage,"  Luo Yameng, a Beijing-based renowned urban management expert, told the Global Times.

On Sunday, 41 charted civil planes carrying some 6,000 medics from more than 10 provinces across China also arrived in the city's Tianhe International Airport, marking the largest number of arrivals of medical assistance personnel in a single day since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia. 

From 1:05 to 23:30, 328 tons of epidemic prevention and control materials from all over the world, including 23 tons from Russia, have arrived in the city. Since January 24, the Wuhan airport has received 124 flights carrying 17,000 medics and 115 flights of assistance materials, which weighed 2,205 tons in total.

The resolute implementation of thorough admission of "the four types of persons", and the procurement of medical resources from all over the nation to Wuhan, shows the central government's determination to address the epidemic in a fast manner, and reduce negative impacts on the nation as well as on the world to a minimum, a Shanghai-based government policy study expert who requested not to be named, told the Global times on Monday.

Built within 10 days, Huoshenshan Hospital which is designated to treat NCP patients in critical condition, is staffed by 1,400 medical personnel from the armed forces. It received the first group of patients on February 4. And it will accommodate over 800 patients as of Monday night, China National Radio reported on Monday.

Another designated hospital Leishenshan, has taken in the second batch of patients, increasing the total to around 70 as of Sunday 11 pm.

"Fangcang" makeshift hospitals that would offer thousands of beds for concentrated admission and treatment of infected patients in mild condition also stood ready for providing medical services.

According to the Xinhua News Agency on Sunday, there are more than 8,800 beds in 28 designated hospitals in Wuhan, and 2,600 beds in the Huoshenshan and Leishenshan hospitals specially for those in heavily sick and in critical conditions. And there would be some additional 9,600 beds to be made available in the three already operational "fangcang" hospitals and other medical facilities renovated from schools.

Global Times reporters in Wuhan saw that during one transfer operation in the city's Wuchang district around Sunday midnight, problems occurred such as shortages of standard protective outfits and goggles for the driver and a lack of seats on the designated bus for patients. Some patients had to be seated in the aisle, and there was no protection screen to separate the bus driver from the sick passengers.

Some 30 heavily ill and senior patients were on board the government designated bus that was headed to a branch of the Tongji Hospital in Wuhan on Sunday midnight. 

After they arrived in the hospital on early Monday morning, many spent even longer time walking back and forth in the hospital to handle admission procedures, and some grew rather desperate in the process as neither guiding employees from the hospital nor officials in charge of the transfer operation were there for help, Global Times reporters were told.  

Some residents in Wuhan reached by the Global Times on Monday also said that "although many were transferred to the hospital, they could not get follow-up medical treatment in a timely fashion, as there were too many of them."

Such operation should have been initiated earlier, but it is still most urgent one for the city government. And the emerging problems with resource shortage at its center could be addressed by building more "fangcang" makeshift hospitals in the city's public venues such as stadiums and in all the city's colleges and exhibition centers, Luo said.

Luo also proposed to transfer some of the patients in critical conditions with charted flights to cities with better medical facilities, and the point-to-point transfer via special vehicles can reduce the chance of infections to the lowest chance.


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