Joint and Regularized Epidemic Prevention and Control
September 30,2021   By:en.humanrights.cn
Sept.30,2021 -- In January 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in China. It first hit Wuhan and many other places in Hubei Province. After the outbreak, the CPC Central Committee attached great importance to it and acted immediately to enhance centralized and unified leadership in all aspects of the anti-epidemic work. In order to contain the virus, the Chinese government launched the State Council’s Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism involving multiple ministries and commissions collaborating synergistically to inhibit the spread of virus. As the chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Wu Zunyou has taken part in the press conferences held by the State Council on the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism many times since the outbreak of the pandemic. He made judgements at critical points and explained the latest anti-virus policies and related information to the general public in plain language to facilitate consensus building.
Wu Zunyou: At the early stage of the outbreak, press conferences were held on a daily basis, totaling over 100 in the first three or four months. Later on, as the epidemic was controlled in China, the focus of the conference was shifted accordingly to communicating to our people and to the world the confidence and determination of the Chinese government in battling the virus. We said that because we had confidence in ourselves; if we hadn’t, we would not have said that. Moreover, we shared with our people and with the world our work on epidemic prevention and control in an open and transparent manner, addressing people’s concerns. As what we said was frank, straightforward and timely, everyone could know the truth at once, and that made our people feel secure. 
Wu Zunyou: To achieve joint prevention and control of the virus, the ministries and commissions under the leadership of the State Council formed a command center in which every department worked together as if they were fighting a war. For example, the National Health Commission was responsible for epidemic prevention and medical assistance, and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology provided logistical support with various protective measures. Every department shouldered their share of responsibility and collaborated with each other. It was in such a way that we pooled the strengths of each department and each system to fight against COVID-19 with full force. Only in this way could the fist be powerful when throwing a punch. The main purpose of the command center was to coordinate resources, make overall arrangements, and facilitate intensification. For example, the construction of Leishenshan Hospital and Huoshenshan Hospital was completed in only one week as a result of the joint prevention and control mechanism. Actions should be prompt, precise and relentless. After taking those measures, the epidemic could be wiped out within a short time, and its impact on social and economic development as well as on people’s lives could be reduced to the minimum, similar to Anhui and Liaoning provinces, which contained the virus very quickly. 
Wu Zunyou: As for every important decision regarding COVID-19, the paramount consideration should be whether it’s conducive to epidemic prevention and control: confining it to the minimum scope and reducing its impact on people and society to the maximum extent. Some strategies are long term, such as our determination to regularize epidemic prevention and control and our vaccination policy. In fact, this strategy basically maintains social and economic development and guarantees that people’s living needs are satisfied. It is normal to see a few cases; it’s also a normal phenomenon to see several cluster infections or no infection. Regularization means avoiding large-scale spread of the virus so that our social and economic development will not be hindered. The application of information technology in disease control and healthcare is sure to grow considerably in the future. It will improve our efficiency in epidemic prevention and control, allowing us to detect new cases more rapidly and evaluate our anti-epidemic performance more effectively.
Wu Zunyou: Actually, speaking of containment strategies for the epidemic, the United States and some European countries have constantly rebuked China’s strategies, claiming that restricting people’s free travel violates human rights. They stated that it would be better to draw experience from Japan and South Korea which maintained essential functioning of their societies while keeping the infection rate relatively low. However, during the past winter, China’s strategies proved to be the most effective. So, in an exchange activity between China and Japan, I specifically mentioned the comparison as a response to the claims of the United States and some European countries. After all, containing the virus within the shortest time is protecting human rights to the greatest extent. Why? Containing the virus reduces deaths and infections. Therefore, scholars from Japan and other countries agreed with my statements. They were just envious of China’s performance and they couldn’t replicate it. As General Secretary Xi Jinping said, people’s lives must be protected at all costs. Under the leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, the 1.4 billion Chinese people fought the epidemic in unison. It is the people’s war, and people’s war produces infinite power. That is to say, life is paramount and people are paramount. This is our goal. With such a goal, a clear one, it can be said that nothing is impossible and no goal is unachievable in China.


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