China in Action
The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China
I.China’s Fight against the Epidemic: A Test of Fire
Stage I: Swift Response to the Public Health Emergency
(December 27, 2019-January 19, 2020)
Stage II: Initial Progress in Containing the Virus
(January 20-February 20, 2020)
Stage III: Newly Confirmed Domestic Cases on the Chinese Mainland Drop to Single Digits
(February 21-March 17, 2020)
Stage IV: Wuhan and Hubei – An Initial Victory in a Critical Battle
(March 18-April 28, 2020)
Stage V: Ongoing Prevention and Control
(Since April 29, 2020)
II.Well-Coordinated Prevention, Control and Treatment
1.Centralized and Efficient Command
2. A Tight Prevention and Control System Involving All Sectors of Society
3.An All-Out Effort to Treat Patients and Save Lives
4. China Has Released Information in an Open and Transparent Manner as Required by Law
5.Science and Technology Underpin China’s Efforts
III.Assembling a Powerful Force to Beat the Virus
1.Lives Are Precious
2.Mobilizing the Whole Country to Fight the Epidemic
3. Coordinating Prevention and Control with Social and Economic Development
4.Uniting as One – China’s Billion People
IV.Building a Global Community of Health for All
1. China Appreciates Support from the International Community
2. China Conducts Active International Exchanges and Cooperation
3. International Solidarity and Cooperation in Fighting the Pandemic
The Covid-19 global pandemic is the most extensive to afflict humanity in a century. A serious crisis for the entire world, and a daunting challenge, it poses a grave threat to human life and health.
This is a war that humanity has to fight and win. Facing this unknown, unexpected, and devastating disease, China launched a resolute battle to prevent and control its spread. Making people’s lives and health its first priority, China adopted extensive, stringent, and thorough containment measures, and has for now succeeded in cutting all channels for the transmission of the virus. 1.4 billion Chinese people have exhibited enormous tenacity and solidarity in erecting a defensive rampart that demonstrates their power in the face of such natural disasters.
Having forged the idea that the world is a global community of shared future, and believing that it must act as a responsible member, China has fought shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the world. In an open, transparent, and responsible manner and in accordance with the law, China gave timely notification to the international community of the onset of a new coronavirus, and shared without reserve its experience in containing the spread of the virus and treating the infected. China has great empathy with victims all over the world, and has done all it can to provide humanitarian aid in support of the international community’s endeavors to stem the pandemic.
The virus is currently wreaking havoc throughout the world. China grieves for those who have been killed and those who have sacrificed their lives in the fight, extends the greatest respect to those who are struggling to save lives, and offers true moral support to those who are infected and receiving treatment. China firmly believes that as long as all countries unite and cooperate to mount a collective response, the international community will succeed in overcoming the pandemic, and will emerge from this dark moment in human history into a brighter future.
To keep a record of China’s efforts in its own fight against the virus, to share its experience with the rest of the world, and to clarify its ideas on the global battle, the Chinese government now releases this white paper.
I. China’s Fight against the Epidemic: A Test of Fire
The Covid-19 epidemic is a major public health emergency. The virus has spread faster and wider than any other since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, and has proven to be the most difficult to contain. It is both a crisis and a major test for China. The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese government have addressed the epidemic as a top priority, and taken swift action. General Secretary Xi Jinping has taken personal command, planned the response, overseen the general situation and acted decisively, pointing the way forward in the fight against the epidemic. This has bolstered the Chinese people’s confidence and rallied their strength. Under the leadership of the CPC, the whole nation has followed the general principle of “remaining confident, coming together in solidarity, adopting a science-based approach, and taking targeted measures”, and waged an all-out people’s war on the virus.
Through painstaking efforts and tremendous sacrifice, and having paid a heavy price, China has succeeded in turning the situation around. In little more than a single month, the rising spread of the virus was contained; in around two months, the daily increase in domestic coronavirus cases had fallen to single digits; and in approximately three months, a decisive victory was secured in the battle to defend Hubei Province and its capital city of Wuhan. With these strategic achievements, China has protected its people’s lives, safety and health, and made a significant contribution to safeguarding regional and global public health.
As of 24:00 of May 31, 2020, a cumulative total of 83,017 confirmed cases had been reported on the Chinese mainland, 78,307 infected had been cured and discharged from hospital, and 4,634 people had died. This demonstrates a cure rate of 94.3 percent and a fatality rate of 5.6 percent (see charts 1, 2, 3 and 4).
Note: On February 12, newly confirmed cases reached 15,152 (including 13,332 cumulative clinically diagnosed cases in Hubei).
Chart 1. Daily Figure for Newly Confirmed Cases on the Chinese Mainland
Chart 2. Daily Figure for New Fatalities on the Chinese Mainland
Chart 3. Cumulative Total of Outstanding Cases on the Chinese Mainland
Chart 4. Daily Figure for Cured Cases on the Chinese Mainland
China’s fight against the epidemic can be divided into five stages.
Stage I: Swift Response to the Public Health Emergency
(December 27, 2019-January 19, 2020)
As soon as cases of pneumonia of unknown cause were identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China acted immediately to conduct etiological and epidemiological investigations and to stop the spread of the disease, and promptly reported the situation. In a timely manner, China informed the WHO and other countries, including the US, of the developing situation, and released the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus. After community spread and clusters of cases emerged in Wuhan, and confirmed cases were reported in other Chinese regions, which were due to virus carriers traveling from the city, a nationwide program of epidemic prevention and control was launched.
(1)December 27, 2019: Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine reported cases of pneumonia of unknown cause to the Wuhan Jianghan Center for Disease Prevention and Control. The Wuhan city government arranged for experts to look into these cases through an analysis of the patients’ condition and clinical outcome, the findings of epidemiological investigations, and preliminary laboratory testing results. The conclusion was that they were cases of a viral pneumonia.
(2)December 30: The Wuhan City Health Commission (WCHC)issued Urgent Notice on Treatment of Patients with Pneumonia of Unknown Cause. Upon learning of developments, the National Health Commission (NHC) acted immediately to organize research into the disease.
(3) December 31: The NHC made arrangements in the small hours to send a working group and an expert team to Wuhan to guide its response to the situation and conduct on-site investigations.
The WCHC website carried its Information Circular on the Pneumonia Cases in Wuhan, confirming 27 cases and urging the public to stay away from enclosed public places with poor ventilation and venues where large crowds gathered. The commission also suggested the use of face masks when going out. From that day on, the WCHC began to release updates on the disease in accordance with the law.
(4) January 1, 2020: The NHC set up a leading group on the disease response. The next day, it formulated Guidelines on Early Detection, Early Diagnosis and Early Quarantine for Prevention and Control of Viral Pneumonia of Unknown Cause. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS) received the first batch of samples of four cases discovered in Hubei and began the pathogen identification process.
(5)January 3: The WCHC issued Information Circular on Viral Pneumonia of Unknown Cause, reporting a total of 44 cases.
Under the direction of the NHC, China CDC and three other institutions carried out parallel laboratory testing of the samples to identify the pathogen. The NHC and the Health Commission of Hubei Province jointly formulated nine documents, including Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol for Viral Pneumonia of Unknown Cause (for Trial Implementation).
From that day on, on a regular basis, China began to update the WHO, relevant countries, and regional organizations, as well as its own regions of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, on the development of the disease.
(6)January 4: The head of China CDC held a telephone conversation with the director of the US CDC, briefing him about the new pneumonia. The two sides agreed to keep in close contact on information sharing and cooperation on technical matters.
The NHC and related health departments in Hubei Province produced Treatment Manual for Viral Pneumonia of Unknown Cause.
(7)January 5: The WCHC updated information on its website, reporting a total of 59 cases of the viral pneumonia of unknown cause. Laboratory tests ruled out respiratory pathogens as the cause, such as influenza, avian influenza, adenovirus, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus.
China sent a situation update to the WHO. The WHO released its first briefing on cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan.
(8)January 6: The NHC gave a briefing on cases of pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan at a national health conference, calling for greater efforts to monitor, analyze and study them, and prepare for a timely response.
(9)January 7: Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, presided over a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and issued instructions on the prevention and control of a possible epidemic of the pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan.
(10)January 7: China CDC succeeded in isolating the first novel coronavirus strain.
(11)January 8: An expert evaluation team designated by the NHC initially identified a new coronavirus as the cause of the disease. The heads of the China and US CDCs held a telephone discussion on technical exchanges and cooperation.
(12)January 9: The NHC expert evaluation team released information on the pathogen of the viral pneumonia of unknown cause, and made a preliminary judgment that a new coronavirus was the cause.
China informed the WHO of developments and the initial progress that had been made in determining the cause of the viral pneumonia. The WHO released on its website a statement regarding a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, indicating that the preliminary identification of a novel coronavirus in such a short period of time was a notable achievement.
(13)January 10: Research institutions including China CDC and the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) came up with an initial version of test kits. Wuhan immediately began to test all relevant cases admitted to local hospitals to screen for the new coronavirus.
The heads of the NHC and China CDC held separate telephone conversations with the head of the WHO about China’s response to the disease, and exchanged information.
(14)January 11: China started to update the WHO and other parties concerned on a daily basis.
(15)January 12: The WCHC changed “viral pneumonia of unknown cause” to “pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus” in an information circular on its website.
China CDC, the CAMS and the WIV, as designated agencies of the NHC, submitted to the WHO the genome sequence of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which was published by the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data to be shared globally.
(16)January 13: Premier Li Keqiang chaired a State Council meeting and announced requirements for epidemic prevention and control.
(17)January 13: The NHC held a meeting to provide guidance to Hubei and Wuhan authorities, advising them to further strengthen management, step up body temperature monitoring at ports and stations, and reduce crowded gatherings.
The WHO issued on its website a statement on the discovery of novel coronavirus cases in Thailand, recognizing that China’s sharing of the genome sequence of the virus had enabled more countries to rapidly diagnose cases.
An inspection team from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan visited Wuhan to learn about the prevention and control of the disease.
(18)January 14: The NHC held a national teleconference, specifying arrangements for epidemic prevention and control in Hubei and Wuhan, and for emergency preparations and response across the country. The NHC cautioned that there was great uncertainty about the new disease, and that more research was needed to understand its mode of transmission and the risk of human-to-human transmissibility. Further spread could not be ruled out.
(19)January 15: The NHC unveiled the first versions of Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol for Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia, and Protocol on Prevention and Control of Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia.
(20)January 16: As the optimization of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) diagnostic reagents was completed, Wuhan began to screen all patients treated in fever clinics or under medical observation in the 69 hospitals at or above the level of grade two in the city.
(21)January 17: The NHC sent seven inspection teams to different provincial-level health agencies to guide local epidemic prevention and control.
(22)January 18: The NHC released the second version of Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol for Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia.
(23) January 18 and 19: The NHC assembled a high-level national team of senior medical and disease control experts and sent them to Wuhan to study the local response to the epidemic. In the middle of the night of January 19, after careful examination and deliberation, the team determined that the new coronavirus was spreading between humans.
Stage II: Initial Progress in Containing the Virus
(January 20-February 20, 2020)
The situation became most pressing with the rapid increase in newly confirmed cases in China. As a crucial step to stem the spread of the virus, the Chinese government took the decisive measure to close outbound traffic from Wuhan. This marked the beginning of an all-out battle to protect Wuhan and Hubei from the epidemic.
The CPC Central Committee set up a leading group for novel coronavirus prevention and control and sent the Central Steering Group to Hubei. A joint epidemic prevention and control mechanism and in due course a mechanism to facilitate resumption of work were set up under the State Council. Resources were mobilized nationwide to assist Hubei and Wuhan. Major public health emergency responses were activated across China.
The most comprehensive, stringent and thorough epidemic prevention and control campaign was launched nationwide, and initial progress was made in curbing the spread of the virus (see Chart 5).
Chart 5. Daily Figure for Newly Confirmed Cases on the Chinese Mainland
(January 20-February 20)
(1)January 20: President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, gave important instructions on fighting the novel coronavirus. He emphasized that people’s lives and health must come first and resolute efforts should be taken to stem the spread of the virus. He called for prompt release of information on the epidemic and enhanced international cooperation.
(2)January 20: During an executive meeting of the State Council, Premier Li Keqiang decided to take more steps for epidemic prevention and control. A decision was taken to classify the novel coronavirus pneumonia as a Class B infectious disease in compliance with the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, but to apply to it the preventive and control measures for a Class A infectious disease.
(3)January 20: The State Council convened a teleconference to plan for nationwide prevention and control of the disease.
(4)January 20: The NHC held a press conference for the high-level expert team, at which it was confirmed that the virus could transmit from human to human.
(5)January 20: The NHC made a statement on implementing the above State Council decision and bringing the pneumonia under quarantinable infectious disease management in accordance with the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law of the People’s Republic of China. The NHC also released Protocol on Prevention and Control of Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (Edition 2).
(6)January 22: Xi Jinping ordered the immediate imposition of tight restrictions on the movement of people and channels of exit in Hubei and Wuhan.
(7)January 22: The NHC issued Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol for Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (Trial Version 3). The State Council Information Office held its first press conference on the novel coronavirus.
The NHC was notified by the United States about its first confirmed case.
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus Resource database was officially launched by the China National Center for Bioinformation, which released the novel coronavirus genome and provided information on variation analysis to the international community.
(8)January 23: At around 2 a.m. Wuhan City Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control Command Center issued the No. 1 public notice declaring temporary closure of the city’s outbound routes at its airports and railway stations at 10 a.m. the same day. The Ministry of Transport issued an emergency circular suspending passenger traffic into Wuhan from other parts of the country by road or waterway. The NHC and five other government departments also issued Notice on Preventing the Transmission of Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia via Means of Transport. From January 23 to January 29, all provinces and equivalent administrative units on the Chinese mainland (hereafter all provinces) activated Level 1 public health emergency response.
(9) January 23: Researchers of the WIV, Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital and the Hubei Provincial CDC discovered that the whole genome sequence of the 2019-nCoV shares 79.5 percent of the SARS-CoV sequence.
The Novel Coronavirus National Science and Technology Resource Service System, jointly set up by the National Microbiology Data Center and the National Pathogen Resource Collection Center, released the first electron microscope image of the virus and its strain information.
(10)January 24: Dispatch of national medical teams to Hubei and Wuhan began. In the ensuing period, a total of 346 medical teams composed of 42,600 medical workers and 965 public health workers from across the country and the armed forces were dispatched.
(11)January 25: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He called for resolute efforts to win the battle to contain the virus with “confidence and solidarity, a science-based approach and targeted measures”. He urged Hubei to make epidemic control its top priority and apply more rigorous measures to stem the spread of the virus within the province and beyond. All confirmed patients, he said, must be hospitalized without delay, and severe cases must be sent to designated hospitals with sufficient medical resources so that they could be treated by medical experts. A decision was taken at the meeting that the central Party leadership would set up a leading group for novel coronavirus prevention and control under the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau. It was also decided that the central Party leadership would send a steering group to Hubei to oversee epidemic control on the ground.
(12)January 25: The NHC released six sets of guidelines on disease prevention: for general use, tourism, households, public places, public transport and home observation.
(13)January 26: Premier Li Keqiang, also member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Central Leading Group for Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control, chaired the group’s first meeting.
The General Office of the State Council issued the decision to extend the Chinese New Year holiday of 2020 and postpone the opening of all universities, colleges, secondary schools, elementary schools and kindergartens.
The National Medical Products Administration fast-tracked approval of four novel coronavirus test kits made by four companies to boost capacity for producing virus nucleic acid test kits.
(14)January 27: Xi Jinping issued an instruction calling on all CPC organizations and members to bear in mind the supremacy of the people’s interests and the Party’s founding mission, strengthen confidence and solidarity, take a science-based approach and targeted measures, and lead the people in implementing the decisions made by the central Party leadership.
(15)January 27: Li Keqiang paid an inspection visit to Wuhan on behalf of Xi Jinping, where he gave guidance on virus control and expressed appreciation to frontline health workers. The Central Steering Group arrived in Wuhan on the same day to strengthen overall guidance of and supervision over the prevention and control of the disease at the front line.
(16)January 27: The NHC released Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol for Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (Trial Version 4).
The head of the NHC discussed epidemic prevention and control with the head of the US Department of Health and Human Services (US HHS) in a telephone call.
(17)January 28: Xi Jinping met with WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in Beijing. He said, “The virus is a devil, and we must hunt it down. The Chinese government has been providing timely updates on the epidemic in an open, transparent and responsible way. We have responded to the concerns of various parties and enhanced cooperation with the international community.” He expressed China’s readiness to work with the WHO and the international community to safeguard public health both in the region and globally.
(18)January 28: The NHC released Protocol on Prevention and Control of Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (Edition 3).
(19)January 30: The NHC notified the US through the official channel that American experts were welcome to join the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease. The US replied and expressed its appreciation on the same day.
(20)January 31: The WHO declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The NHC released Guidelines on Treating Novel Coronavirus Patients with Severe Symptoms in Designated Hospitals.
(21)February 2: Under the guidance of the Central Steering Group, Wuhan began to adopt measures to put four categories of people – confirmed cases, suspected cases, febrile patients who might be carriers, and close contacts – under classified management in designated facilities. The policy of ensuring that all those in need are tested, isolated, hospitalized or treated was implemented. Actions were taken to conduct mass screenings to identify people with infections, hospitalize them, and collect accurate data on case numbers.
(22)February 2: The head of the NHC sent a letter to the head of the US HHS to further exchange views on bilateral cooperation on public health and epidemic prevention and control.
(23)February 3: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He required that epidemic control measures be improved and strengthened and that the principle of early detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment be strictly observed. He called for saving lives by raising admission and cure rates and lowering infection and fatality rates.
(24)February 3: The Central Steering Group sent to Wuhan 22 national emergency medical teams from all over China, and gave the order to construct temporary treatment centers.
(25)February 4: The head of China CDC took a telephone call from the head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in which they exchanged views on the novel coronavirus.
(26)February 5: Xi Jinping chaired the third meeting of the Commission for Law-based Governance under the CPC Central Committee. He stressed the importance of putting the people’s lives and health first, and the need to raise China’s overall capacity of law-based disease prevention and control through the joint efforts of the legislature, law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and the public. This would ensure that epidemic prevention and control is conducted in compliance with the law.
(27)February 5: The State Council through its Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism strengthened coordination, which made it possible for the supply of medical N95 masks to exceed Hubei’s requirement.
(28)February 5: The NHC released Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol for Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (Trial Version 5).
(29)February 7: Through its Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, the State Council issued Notice on Delivery of Duties for Effective Prevention and Control of the Disease.
The NHC released Protocol on Prevention and Control of Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (Edition 4).
(30)February 8: The NHC gave briefings on China’s epidemic control efforts and measures at a meeting of the APEC health working group. It also gave briefings to Chinese diplomatic missions overseas on the guidelines for prevention and control, diagnosis and treatment, monitoring, epidemiological investigation and laboratory testing of the novel coronavirus.
Heads of Chinese and US health authorities further exchanged views on arrangements for American experts to join the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease.
(31)February 10: Xi Jinping inspected prevention and control work in Beijing. He also talked by video link to doctors from Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital, Wuhan Union Hospital and Huoshenshan Hospital where novel coronavirus patients were being treated. He called for strengthening confidence and taking more decisive measures to stem the spread of and win the people’s all-out war against the virus. He emphasized that top priority must be given to Hubei and Wuhan, as they were the decisive battlegrounds. Victory in Wuhan would ensure victory in Hubei, and ultimately victory across the country. No effort would be spared in saving lives. The infected should be treated in designated hospitals by top-level doctors and with all necessary resources guaranteed. Strict measures must be taken to forestall inbound and intra-city transmissions, neutralize all sources of infection and stem the spread of the virus to the greatest extent possible.
(32)February 10: A mechanism was established to organize pairing assistance from other provinces to Hubei’s cities other than Wuhan for treatment of the infected. Assistance from 19 provinces was rendered to 16 cities in Hubei.
(33)February 11: Thanks to strengthened coordination under the State Council Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, the supply of medical protective suits to Hubei exceeded its needs.
(34)February 11: China CDC experts had a teleconference at the request of flu experts from the US CDC, during which they shared information on novel coronavirus prevention and control.
(35)February 12: At a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Xi Jinping noted that China’s novel coronavirus prevention and control had reached the most crucial stage. Key epidemic control tasks must be fulfilled, and greater attention must be given to the hardest-hit and high-risk areas. He called for improvements in key links in disease control to raise the admission and cure rates and lower the infection and fatality rates. Hospital capacity must be boosted to ensure admission and treatment for all patients. The best medical resources and technologies should be pooled to treat all infections, particularly the most severe cases. He urged those provinces and cities with large population inflows to strengthen cross-region joint prevention and control and society-wide efforts to contain the virus.
(36)February 13: The head of the NHC received a letter from the head of the US HHS on arrangements concerning bilateral cooperation on public health and novel coronavirus prevention and control.
(37)February 14: Xi Jinping chaired the 12th meeting of the Commission for Further Reform under the CPC Central Committee. He emphasized that protecting people’s lives and health is a high priority on the CPC’s governance agenda. Immediate, science-based and targeted measures must be taken to stamp out the virus. Experience and lessons must be drawn to enhance preparedness in the future. Swift actions must be taken to address problems, plug loopholes, and reinforce weak links. He also emphasized the need to improve both the mechanism for preventing and controlling major epidemics and the national public health emergency response system.
(38)February 14: All provinces and equivalent administrative units other than Hubei saw a continuous drop in newly confirmed cases for the 10th consecutive day.
(39)February 15: The State Council Information Office held its first press conference on novel coronavirus prevention and control in Wuhan. By that day, seven types of test reagents had been approved for market launch, and progress had been made in drug screening, development of therapeutic regimens and vaccines, and animal model construction.
(40)February 16: The WHO-China Joint Mission on Covid-19, consisting of 25 experts from China, Germany, Japan, ROK, Nigeria, Russia, Singapore, the US and the WHO, started its nine-day field visit to Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Wuhan.
(41)February 17: Through its Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, the State Council issued Guidelines on Taking Science-based, Targeted, Region-specific, and Tiered Measures for Covid-19 Prevention and Control. Local authorities and government departments were required to take measures matching the corresponding levels of emergency response and ensure an orderly return to work and normal life.
(42)February 18: Nationwide, the daily number of newly cured and discharged coronavirus patients exceeded that of newly confirmed cases, and the number of confirmed cases began to drop.
The NHC sent a reply to the US HHS on further arrangements concerning bilateral health and anti-virus cooperation.
(43)February 19: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. The meeting heard reports on coronavirus prevention and control, and studied plans on strengthening virus control while promoting economic and social development.
(44)February 19: The NHC released Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol for Covid-19 (Trial Version 6).
(45) February 19: For the first time in Wuhan, newly cured and discharged cases outnumbered newly confirmed ones.
Stage III: Newly Confirmed Domestic Cases on the Chinese Mainland Drop to Single Digits
(February 21-March 17, 2020)
China had made significant progress: The rapid spread of the virus had been contained in Wuhan and the rest of Hubei Province, the situation in other parts on the mainland had stabilized, and the daily figure for new cases had remained in single digits since mid-March. As the situation evolved, the CPC Central Committee decided to coordinate epidemic control with economic and social development, and organize an orderly return to normal work and daily life (see Chart 6).
Chart 6. Daily Figure for Newly Confirmed Cases on the Chinese Mainland
(February 21-March 17)
(1)February 21: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He pointed out that while significant progress had been made in containing the epidemic, the turning point had not yet arrived at the national level. Wuhan and the entire province of Hubei still faced a grave and complex threat. He instructed that differentiated control measures be adopted to address the problems in different regions, to defend Hubei and its capital city, to step up support to regions with insufficient capacity, and to make an all-out effort to ensure the safety of Beijing, the national capital. He required that the economic and social order be managed in parallel with the anti-epidemic endeavor, and called for an orderly return to normal work and daily life.
(2)February 21: Through its Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, the State Council issued Guidelines on Covid-19 Prevention and Control Measures for Resumption of Work.
The NHC released Protocol on Prevention and Control of Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (Edition 5).
(3)February 21: Most provinces and equivalent administrative units started to downgrade their public health emergency response level in light of the local situation, and gradually lifted traffic restrictions. By February 24, all provincial trunk highways had reopened, and order was restored to the transport networks with the exception of those in Hubei and Beijing.
(4) February 23: President Xi spoke to 170,000 officials nationwide by video link, at a meeting on coordinating epidemic control with economic and social development. He emphasized that this epidemic, given the speed and scope of its spread, represented the most challenging public health emergency in China since the founding of the People’s Republic, and that it was both a serious crisis and a major test.
He acknowledged the arduous efforts of all involved, welcoming the fact that control measures were producing increasingly positive results, but noting that the overall situation remained complex and serious, and this stage would be crucial in curbing the spread. The people must maintain their faith in ultimate victory and make unremitting efforts in all of their prevention and control work. He encouraged the nation to turn pressure into strength and adversity into opportunities, and steadily resume normal work and daily life. He demanded a redoubled effort to stabilize the six fronts -- employment, finance, foreign trade, inbound investment, domestic investment, and market expectations, called for stronger policies to unleash the full potential and maintain the strong momentum of China’s development, and urged the nation to achieve the goals and tasks set for this year’s economic and social development.
(5)February 24: The WHO-China Joint Mission on Covid-19 held a press conference in Beijing, during which team members agreed that China had achieved notable success in slowing the spread of the virus and blocking human-to-human transmission, at least delaying and possibly preventing hundreds of thousands of infections. “This approach, what we call an ‘all-of-government, all-of-society’ approach, very old-fashioned, too old in some ways, has probably, definitely reverted, and probably prevented at least tens of thousands, but probably hundreds of thousands of cases of Covid-19 in China”.
By February 24, the daily number of new infections on the Chinese mainland had remained below 1,000 for five consecutive days, the number of existing confirmed cases had kept dropping for almost a week, and the daily figure for discharged patients was now equal to or had surpassed that of new infections in all provincial-level administrative units.
(6)February 25: China started to tighten up border quarantine, conducting a strict check of health and body temperature, and carrying out medical inspection, epidemiological investigation, medical screening, and sample monitoring of all inbound and outbound travelers, in order to minimize the cross-border spread of the epidemic.
(7)February 26: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He told the meeting that the national situation in epidemic control was turning for the better and economic and social development was quickly returning to normal, while Wuhan and Hubei as a whole still faced a grave and complex situation, and the possibility of an epidemic resurgence must not be overlooked in other regions.
He called for a greater effort to marshal the resources of the whole country to reinforce Wuhan and Hubei. He emphasized the need to make an accurate assessment of the epidemic dynamics and the conditions facing economic and social development, and focus on the main problems and the key elements of these problems, so as to ensure an overall victory in the battle against the virus, and achieve the goals of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and of the country’s poverty alleviation.
(8)February 27: The daily figure for new cases in Hubei other than Wuhan, and in other places on the mainland outside Hubei, both dropped to single digits for the first time.
(9)February 28: Through its Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, the State Council released Notice on Furthering Differentiated, Region-specific and Tiered Prevention and Control Measures.
(10)February 29: The WHO-China Joint Mission on Covid-19 released a report about its field study trip in China. The report described China’s control efforts. It said, “In the face of a previously unknown virus, China has rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history... As striking, has been the uncompromising rigor of strategy application that proved to be a hallmark in every setting and context where it was examined... Achieving China’s exceptional coverage with and adherence to these containment measures has only been possible due to the deep commitment of the Chinese people to collective action in the face of this common threat. At a community level this is reflected in the remarkable solidarity of provinces and cities in support of the most vulnerable populations and communities.”
(11)March 2: President Xi inspected several scientific institutions in Beijing, observing their research and development on Covid-19 prevention and control. He said that this work must be taken as a major and pressing task and proceed as speedily as possible, while abiding by the rules of science and ensuring safety, so as to provide strong scientific and technological support for overcoming the epidemic.
Xi Jinping pointed out that saving as many lives as possible, by every possible means, was the number one priority. Research on and development of medicines and medical equipment should be integrated with clinical treatment, with the twin goals of raising the cure rate and lowering the fatality rate. Development of vaccines should be expedited through multiple approaches, so as to make them available for clinical trial and application as quickly as possible.
The president said that biosecurity should be an important part of the holistic approach to national security, and he called for efforts to enhance China’s scientific research capacity regarding epidemic prevention and control and public health.
(12)March 3: The NHC released Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol for Covid-19 (Trial Version 7), which made modifications in the determination of transmission routes and clinical symptoms, updated diagnostic criteria, and emphasized the integration of traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine in treating the disease.
(13)March 4: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He emphasized the need to quickly bring order to economic and social development in the context of epidemic control, improve relevant measures, and consolidate and extend the country’s hard-won progress. Wuhan and Hubei must continue their epidemic control, and continue the measures for preventing the virus from spreading within their local area or beyond.
(14)March 6: Xi Jinping attended a symposium on securing a decisive victory in poverty alleviation. He pointed out that the solemn pledge to lift all rural people living below current poverty line out of poverty by 2020 had been made by the CPC Central Committee to the whole nation, and it must be fulfilled on schedule. He called for greater determination and intensity in advancing poverty alleviation, and highlighted the need to offset the impact of the epidemic in order to clinch a complete victory over poverty – a cause of such tremendous importance to China and all of humanity.
(15)March 6: The daily increase in the number of domestic cases on the Chinese mainland dropped below 100, and fell further to single digits on March 11.
(16)March 7: The NHC released Protocol on Prevention and Control of Covid-19 (Edition 6).
(17)March 10: Xi Jinping went to Wuhan to inspect work on epidemic control. He acknowledged that the situation in Hubei and Wuhan was improving and that hard work had delivered important results, and pointed out that the task remained arduous. He encouraged the people to persevere in their efforts and win the battles against the virus in Hubei and Wuhan. He praised residents in Wuhan for considering the national interest and the general situation. They had proved themselves indomitable and resilient, and they had consciously subordinated their needs to the overall interests of epidemic control, joined the battle against the epidemic, and made a huge contribution.
He pointed out that there were two fronts in the battle against the epidemic: the hospital and the community – the life-saving front and the epidemic prevention and control front. Communities should play their key role in epidemic prevention and control, and every community should serve as a bastion of defense against the virus. He called for a general mobilization, putting in place a defense line across the whole of society and relying on the people to win the battle.
(18)March 11: WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced, “We have therefore made the assessment that Covid-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”
(19)March 11 to 17: The daily increase in the number of domestic cases on the Chinese mainland remained in single digits. The epidemic peak had passed in China as a whole, with the number of new cases steadily declining and the epidemic comfortably under control.
(20) March 17: Forty-two medical teams from around the country left Wuhan, having completed their mission there.
Stage IV: Wuhan and Hubei – An Initial Victory in a Critical Battle
(March 18-April 28, 2020)
By making critical advances in the city of Wuhan, the main battleground against the virus, China initially halted the spread of Covid-19 on the mainland. Restrictions on outbound traffic from Wuhan City and Hubei Province were lifted, and all Covid-19 patients in Wuhan hospitals were discharged. China won a critical battle in defending Wuhan and Hubei against Covid-19, which was a major step forward in the nationwide virus control effort.
During this period, sporadic cases were reported, and more infections were caused by inbound arrivals carrying the virus which continued to spread overseas. In response to the evolving Covid-19 dynamics, the CPC Central Committee adopted an approach to prevent the coronavirus from entering the country and stem its domestic resurgence. Efforts were made to consolidate gains in virus control, promptly treat cluster cases, and get the country back to work sector by sector. Care and support were given to Chinese citizens abroad (see Chart 7).
Chart 7. Daily Figure for Newly Confirmed Cases on the Chinese Mainland
(March 18-April 28)
(1)March 18: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He emphasized the need to take rigorous steps to stop inbound cases, so that hard-won gains in virus control would not be lost. He urged stronger measures to protect the health of Chinese citizens overseas.
(2)March 18: The State Council issued Decision on Implementation of Measures to Stabilize Employment by Offsetting the Impact of Covid-19.
(3)March 18: For the first time, no new domestic cases were confirmed on the Chinese mainland. By March 19, no new cases had been confirmed for seven days outside of Hubei Province.
(4)March 25: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to hear briefings about virus control and current economic conditions and discuss virus control measures and ways to sustain economic growth.
(5)March 25: Hubei lifted outbound traffic restrictions and removed all health checkpoints on highways across the province except in Wuhan. With the exception of Wuhan, work and life gradually returned to normal in the whole province, and people could now leave Hubei if they had a “green” health code to show that they were not infected.
(6)March 25: Confirmed inbound cases were reported in 23 provinces, signaling the need to curb the spread of the virus.
(7)March 26: President Xi attended the G20 Extraordinary Leaders’ Summit on Covid-19 and delivered a speech titled “Working Together to Defeat the Covid-19 Outbreak”.
(8)March 27: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He called for a timely improvement in China’s Covid-19 control measures in response to changing Covid-19 dynamics, both domestic and globally, with a shift in focus to preventing inbound cases and domestic resurgence, so as to sustain the positive momentum in virus control.
He stressed the need to speedily resume work and normal life while continuing Covid-19 prevention and control, in order to minimize the losses caused by Covid-19 and fulfill the goals of economic and social development set for the year. Provided that prevention and control protocols were duly observed, support should be given to get Hubei back to work in an orderly manner, and help enterprises create jobs, keep their employees, and ensure their livelihoods.
(9)March 29 to April 1: Xi Jinping made an inspection tour to Zhejiang Province to review its Covid-19 control and economic and social development.
He stressed that guarding against inbound infections should be the top priority for the country both now and in the foreseeable future and that control must be targeted and effective so as to build a strong line of defense against inbound cases.
He emphasized the need to remain sensitive to changes, respond to them with well-judged actions, be ready to adjust the approach when necessary, and identify and seize opportunities in the current crisis.
He urged a steady return to work in more sectors while strictly continuing virus control measures and resolving problems hindering the return to work, so as to restore the operation of complete industrial chains.
(10)April 1: Chinese customs began nucleic acid testing (NAT) on inbound arrivals at all points of entry – air, water and land.
(11)April 4: A nationwide ceremony was held on the traditional Tomb-sweeping Day to pay tribute to all those who had given their lives in fighting Covid-19, and others who had died of the novel coronavirus.
(12)April 6: Through its Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, the State Council issued Notice on Prevention and Control Measures for Key Locations, Organizations and Population Groups, and Manual for Management of Asymptomatic Virus Carriers.
(13)April 7: The Central Leading Group for Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control issued Guidelines on Resumption of Work while Preventing and Controlling Covid-19; and the State Council released Guidelines on Covid-19 Prevention and Control Measures for Localities at Different Risk Levels to Resume Work. Region-specific and tiered measures for Covid-19 control were adopted to pave the way for a return to normal work in different locations.
(14)April 8: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He reiterated the need to stay alert against potential risks and be prepared, both in thinking and action, to respond to long-term changes in the external environment.
He warned against any relaxation of the efforts to both stop inbound cases and forestall domestic resurgence of cases. Targeted measures should be taken to manage asymptomatic cases, build a strong line of defense and plug any loopholes that might cause a resurgence of the virus. Control at land and sea points of entry should be tightened to minimize domestic cases caused by inbound arrivals carrying the virus.
(15)April 8: Wuhan lifted its 76-day outbound traffic restrictions; and local work and daily life began to return to normal.
(16)April 10: The number of patients in severe or critical condition in Hubei dropped to double digits for the first time.
(17)April 14: Premier Li Keqiang delivered a speech at a special meeting attended by leaders of ASEAN nations, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea on fight against the novel coronavirus. He shared with these leaders China’s experience in coordinating the fight against the virus with its efforts to continue economic and social development. He proposed to strengthen cooperation on the fight against the virus, on efforts to resume economic development, and on policy coordination among the participating countries.
(18)April 15: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to hear briefings on virus control and current economic conditions, and discuss virus response measures and ways to sustain economic growth.
(19)April 17: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He called for full implementation of virus control measures to prevent both inbound cases and domestic resurgence and to build positive momentum in Covid-19 control.
He emphasized the need to follow the general principles of pursuing stable performance and making new progress, returning to work while continuing Covid-19 control, restoring economic and social order, fostering new growth areas, and actively promoting development.
(20)April 17: Wuhan City Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control Command Center released Briefing on Modifying the Figures of Confirmed Covid-19 Cases and Fatalities in Wuhan. By midnight on April 16, the total number of confirmed cases in the city had been revised up by 325 to 50,333, and the number of deaths up by 1,290 to 3,869.
(21)April 20-23: Xi Jinping made an inspection tour to Shaanxi Province. He urged local officials to pursue steady performance, make new progress, and act according to the new development philosophy. He called on them to carry out the following tasks: stabilizing employment, finance, foreign trade, inbound investment, domestic investment, and market expectations, and guaranteeing jobs, daily living needs, food and energy, industrial and supply chains, the interests of market players, and the smooth functioning of grassroots government. By so doing, China could offset the adverse impact of Covid-19 and fulfill the goals of eliminating poverty and achieving moderate prosperity.
(22)April 23: Premier Li Keqiang chaired a video conference on the economic situation in some provinces and cities in order to promote economic and social development in these regions.
(23)April 26: The last hospitalized Covid-19 patient in Wuhan was discharged.
(24)April 27: Xi Jinping chaired the 13th meeting of the Commission for Further Reform under the CPC Central Committee. He pointed out that the CPC leadership and China’s socialist system had played a critical role in Covid-19 control and the resumption of business activities in China. As the environment for development became more complicated, China should be more resolute in furthering reform and improving its governing systems, and it should fully leverage its strengths to deal with risks and challenges.
(25) April 27: The Central Steering Group returned to Beijing from Hubei.
Stage V: Ongoing Prevention and Control
(Since April 29, 2020)
Sporadic cases have been reported on the mainland, resulting in case clusters in some locations. Inbound cases are generally under control. The positive momentum in Covid-19 control has thus been locked in, and nationwide virus control is now being conducted on an ongoing basis. China has made vigorous efforts to resume work and reopen schools. The ongoing control measures passed the test of the travel peak during the May Day holiday.
With the approval of the CPC Central Committee, an inter-departmental contact group under the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council was dispatched to Hubei to oversee local virus control (see Chart 8).
(1)April 29: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He concluded that thanks to arduous efforts, China had won a vital battle in defending Wuhan and Hubei against the novel coronavirus, and achieved a major strategic success in the nationwide control efforts. At the same time, he emphasized that virus control should continue in key regions and target key groups, with a focus on inbound cases.
(2) April 30: The public health emergency response was lowered to Level 2 in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
Chart 8. Daily Figure for Newly Confirmed Cases on the Chinese Mainland
(April 29-May 31)
(3)May 1: The WHO announced that given the current international Covid-19 dynamics, the novel coronavirus still remained a “public health emergency of international concern”.
(4)May 2: The public health emergency response was lowered to Level 2 in Hubei.
(5)May 4: An inter-departmental contact group under the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council was dispatched to Wuhan with the approval of the CPC Central Committee.
(6)May 6: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He pointed out that under the strong leadership of the Central Committee and with the support of all the people, the Central Steering Group had been working with the people of Wuhan and other parts of Hubei Province. They had done their utmost in the fight to curb the spread of the virus and erected a first line of defense for the nation, making a significant contribution to beating the virus.
He said the contact group should guide and support follow-up work in Wuhan and other parts of Hubei and advise on the rehabilitation and psychological counseling of patients in recovery, to ensure that the gains would be consolidated.
(7)May 7: Through the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism, the State Council released Guidelines on Conducting Covid-19 Prevention and Control on an Ongoing Basis.
(8)May 8: The CPC Central Committee held a meeting to hear the views and proposals from the central committees of China’s eight other political parties, representatives of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and prominent figures without party affiliation. General Secretary Xi chaired and addressed the meeting.
He said that when the novel coronavirus struck, catching the country unawares, the CPC Central Committee gave its full attention to the matter. Putting people’s lives and health first, it swiftly adopted a series of policies on prevention and control of the virus and treatment of the infected. It took the country over a month to achieve initial success in curbing the spread of the virus, about two months to bring the daily figure of new domestic cases on the mainland down to single digits, and three months to win a decisive victory in defending Wuhan City and Hubei Province. For China, with a large population of 1.4 billion, this achievement did not come easily.
(9)May 11-12: Xi Jinping made an inspection tour to Shanxi Province to be briefed on what had been done in the province to conduct Covid-19 prevention and control on an ongoing basis while promoting economic and social development, and to consolidate gains in poverty alleviation.
He urged local officials to act according to the new development philosophy for making steady progress, and carry out supply-side structural reform. They were required to stabilize the six fronts (employment, finance, foreign trade, inbound investment, domestic investment, and market expectations), and guarantee the six priorities (jobs, daily living needs, food and energy, industrial and supply chains, the interests of market players, and the smooth functioning of grassroots government).
He called on local officials to overcome the adverse impact of the virus, accelerate high-quality economic transformation, and meet the goals of eliminating poverty and achieving moderate prosperity in all respects.
(10)May 14: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. He urged that Covid-19 control be strengthened in key areas and key places to prevent its resurgence, and that targeted measures be taken where case clusters had recently occurred. Flexible and effective measures should be adopted to respond to evolving Covid-19 dynamics overseas, and key sectors and weak links in the prevention of inbound infection should be shored up.
(11)May 15: Xi Jinping chaired a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to discuss the draft Report on the Work of the Government, which the State Council would submit to the forthcoming Third Session of the 13th National People’s Congress for deliberation.
He pointed out that to fulfill the tasks of the year, the nation must carry out Covid-19 prevention and control as well as promoting economic and social development to reach the goal of achieving moderate prosperity in all respects.
He said that while conducting control on an ongoing basis, the country should continue to deliver steady performance, act according to the new development philosophy, conduct supply-side structural reform, promote high-quality development through further reform and opening up, and continue the three critical battles against poverty, pollution and major risks. There should be solid progress in stabilizing the six fronts and guaranteeing the six priorities. Domestic consumption must be expanded, and economic development and social stability must be maintained, so as to fulfill the goals of eliminating poverty and achieving moderate prosperity in all respects.
(12)May 18: President Xi delivered a speech titled “Fighting Covid-19 through Solidarity and Cooperation, Building a Global Community of Health for All” at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly.
(13) May 21-27: The Third Session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference was held in Beijing. May 22-28: The Third Session of the 13th National People’s Congress was held in Beijing.
II. Well-Coordinated Prevention, Control and Treatment
The coronavirus caught China unawares. Putting people’s lives and health first, the Chinese government has acted swiftly to fight the virus and provide medical treatment for patients. It has adopted the most thorough, rigorous and comprehensive prevention and control measures, enforced quarantine and isolation on a scale never seen before, and mobilized medical resources across the country. It has ensured that all those in need have been tested, quarantined, hospitalized or treated. With these measures in place, China has prevented a wider spread and further development of the virus. “The time that can be gained through the full application of these measures [in China] – even if just days or weeks – can be invaluable in ultimately reducing Covid-19 illness and deaths,” says Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) published on February 28, 2020.1
1.Centralized and Efficient Command
Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at its core, China has put in place an efficient system under which the central authorities exercise overall command, while local authorities and all sectors follow the leadership and instructions of the central authorities, perform their respective duties, and cooperate with each other. This highly efficient system has made it possible for China to win its all-out people’s war against the virus.
General Secretary Xi Jinping takes charge of Covid-19 response.Attaching high importance to Covid-19 prevention and control, Xi Jinping assumed full command over the control efforts from the very beginning. He highlighted the need to put people’s lives and health first, to firm up confidence, strengthen solidarity, adopt a science-based approach, and take targeted measures. He called for a nationwide effort to block the spread of the virus and defeat it.
Xi Jinping has chaired 14 meetings of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, 4 meetings of the Political Bureau, meetings of the Central Commission for Law-based Governance, Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, Central Commission for Further Reform, and Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, and a meeting with prominent non-CPC figures. At these meetings, he heard briefings from the Central Leading Group for Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control and the Central Steering Group, adjusted response measures in view of the evolving Covid-19 dynamics, and made decisions on overall plans for strengthening control efforts and international cooperation.
He inspected community response and Covid-19 research in Beijing, and visited Wuhan to guide frontline response. He made inspection tours to Zhejiang, Shaanxi and Shanxi provinces where he was briefed on progress in coordinating epidemic prevention and control with economic and social development, and in poverty alleviation. He has closely followed developments in China’s virus control and made timely decisions accordingly.
Government departments have made well-coordinated control efforts.Premier Li Keqiang, as head of the Central Leading Group for Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control, has chaired more than 30 meetings of the leading group to discuss key issues concerning Covid-19 control and economic and social development, and important decisions were made at the meetings. He visited Wuhan and inspected China CDC, the Institute of Pathogen Biology CAMS & PUMC, Beijing West Railway Station, Beijing Capital International Airport, and the National Distribution Center for Major Anti-epidemic Medical Supplies.
The Central Steering Group responded swiftly to guide Hubei Province and Wuhan City to intensify their control efforts. It thus helped contain the virus and hold a strong first line of defense against the virus.
The Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council has played the coordinating role and held regular meetings to keep abreast of the situation, dispatch medical teams, and allocate supplies, and it has made timely adjustments to control policies and priorities in response to new developments. Through its mechanism for promoting the return to work, the State Council has strengthened guidance and coordination, removed barriers in the industrial and supply chains, and ensured the resumption of normal daily life.
Local authorities and other stakeholders have lived up to their responsibilities.Emergency command mechanisms headed by leading Party and government officials were established in provinces, cities and counties across the country, forming a top-down system with unified command, frontline guidance, and coordination between departments and among provinces. Local authorities and other stakeholders have implemented each and every one of the decisions, plans and prohibitions of the central authorities, and strictly and effectively enforced all response measures. Thus, an effective and well-functioning whole-of-the-nation control mechanism is in place.
2. A Tight Prevention and Control System Involving All Sectors of Society
The Chinese New Year is marked by enormous population flows in dense groups. In view of this fact, the Chinese government quickly mobilized the whole of society and galvanized the people into a nationwide response. A targeted, law- and science-based approach was adopted, and public health emergency response measures were rolled out on an unprecedented and extensive scale across the country. Through the strictest social distancing and flexible, people-centered social management, China put in place a prevention and control system involving governments at all levels and the whole of society, and launched a people’s war on the virus applying non-medical means that has effectively blocked its transmission routes.
Strong measures were taken to control sources of infection.The Chinese government defined a set of requirements: early detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment with a focus on the four categories of vulnerable people (confirmed cases, suspected cases, febrile patients who might be carriers, and close contacts). It had also taken measures to ensure that they were hospitalized, treated, tested or quarantined as appropriate. It has done everything in its power to reduce infections to the minimum.
While keeping all its outbound routes closed, Wuhan carried out two rounds of community-based mass screening of its 4.21 million households, leaving no person or household unchecked and ruling out all potential sources of infection.
The Chinese government redoubled efforts to increase the capacity of nucleic acid testing, supply more test kits, and approve more testing institutions. As a result, the testing period was shortened and the quality enhanced, ensuring that all those in need could be tested immediately and as appropriate. In Hubei Province, the testing period was shortened from 2 days to 4-6 hours, and the daily capacity expanded from 300 samples in the early stage of the epidemic to more than 50,000 in mid-April. Such advances made early detection and confirmation of infection possible and reduced the risk of transmission.
To identify the four categories of vulnerable people, community grid-based screening was carried out across the country. All residents were requested to report their health condition on a daily basis. Community workers for their part visited households door-to-door to collect and verify this information. Temperature checking was made a routine at all places. Work was done to strengthen the monitoring and online reporting of cases identified at fever clinics of medical facilities – all such cases had to be reported online to higher authorities within 2 hours; their test results sent back to the reporting clinics within 12 hours; and on-site epidemiological investigation completed within 24 hours – so that confirmed cases and asymptomatic carriers would be identified and reported without delay. Epidemiological tracing and investigation were enhanced to precisely detect and cut off virus transmission routes. As of May 31, a total of more than 740,000 close contacts had been traced and handled as appropriate.
Breaking the chains of transmission through early intervention.The strictest closure and traffic restrictions were enforced on all outbound routes from Wuhan and Hubei. International passenger flights, and ferries and long-distance passenger transport services in many parts of the province were suspended, as were road and waterway passenger services bound for Wuhan from other places of the country. Airports and railway stations were closed and intra-city public transport halted in Wuhan and many other parts of Hubei. All these restrictions effectively stopped the virus from spreading nationwide, especially in rural Hubei where public health infrastructure was relatively weak.
Areas outside Hubei took a differentiated approach to traffic control. The provinces abutting Hubei built traffic control “isolation zones” around the province, preventing the virus from spreading beyond Hubei. Other parts of China adopted a targeted, tiered, and region-specific approach. They exercised a dynamic control over urban and rural road transport services and strengthened health and quarantine measures for domestic routes.
Rigorous measures were taken to prevent public gatherings and cross-infection. The Chinese New Year holiday was extended, public gatherings were canceled or postponed, and the spring semester was postponed in schools. Cinemas, theaters, internet cafés, and gyms were all closed. Strict procedures had to be followed in essential public facilities, including bus stations, airports, ports, farmers markets, shopping malls, supermarkets, restaurants and hotels, and in enclosed transport vehicles such as buses, trains and planes. All persons were required to wear masks and undergo temperature monitoring when accessing these venues or vehicles. In addition, all such facilities had to be disinfected, meet certain hygiene standards, ensure good ventilation, monitor visitors’ temperature, and control the number of passengers or visitors at a given period of time.
Government services were provided online and through prior reservation, non-physical-contact delivery or services were extended, people were encouraged to stay at home and work from home, and businesses were encouraged to telecommute – all these measures effectively reduced population flows and public gatherings. Clear signs urging people to maintain at least one meter of distance and avoid close contact could be seen in all public places.
Strict health and quarantine measures were enforced at points of entry and exit across China to prevent inbound and outbound spread of the virus. The strictest-ever measures were applied at border control to suspend non-urgent and nonessential outbound travel by Chinese citizens.
The community-based line of defense was well guarded.Communities and villages made up the first line of defense in epidemic prevention and control, a major barrier to inbound cases and local transmission. They served as the mainstay in China’s Covid-19 response. Residents and villagers were mobilized to help manage communities. Strict access control and grid-based management were exercised in communities, and human and material resources were channeled down to the community level to reinforce implementation of targeted measures. Task forces comprising both full-time and part-time community workers were set up, while officials at the sub-district/township and community/village levels, health workers of community medical facilities, and family doctors all performed their duties as a team. Through all these efforts, communities and villages were turned into strongholds, securing full implementation of response measures down to the lowest level.
To deal with the four categories of vulnerable people, a number of measures were taken in accordance with the law, such as tracing, registering, and visiting each individual, placing them under community management, and transferring them, if necessary, to designated medical facilities for quarantine or treatment as per due procedures. Community actions were taken to keep local areas in good condition and promote health education.
In Wuhan, rigorous 24-hour access control was enforced in all residential communities. No residents were allowed to leave and no non-residents allowed to access the community area other than for essential medical needs or epidemic control operations. Community workers were responsible for the purchase and delivery of daily necessities according to residents’ needs. This approach was also applied in communities and villages in other parts of China, where all residents had to register and undergo temperature checking when leaving or entering the residential area or village.
Education programs were conducted to raise public awareness of the need for personal protection and enhance the sense of social responsibility. People observed self-quarantine at home and 14-day self-isolation after cross-region travel. They strictly followed personal protection measures such as wearing a mask when going out, maintaining proper social distancing, avoiding crowds, frequent handwashing, and regular ventilation. The tradition of the Patriotic Public Health Campaign which was initiated in the 1950s, with an emphasis on sanitation and personal hygiene, was also encouraged, along with a healthy, environment-friendly lifestyle .
A multi-level, category-specific, dynamic and targeted approach was adopted.China also applied a region-specific, multi-level approach to epidemic prevention and control. To better prevent and control the epidemic, each region at or above the county level was classified by risk level on the basis of a comprehensive evaluation of factors such as population and number of infections in a given period of time. There are three levels of risk: low, medium, and high. Regions could take measures according to the risk level, which was dynamic and adjusted in light of the evolving situation.
In response to Covid-19, a low-risk region was requested to remain vigilant against any potential inbound transmission while fully restoring normal order in work and daily life; a medium-risk region had to prevent inbound and local transmission while restoring normal work and daily life as soon as possible; and a region classified as high-risk was obliged to prevent any spread in its jurisdiction or beyond, enforce strict control measures, and focus on containment. Once the situation stabilized, provincial-level authorities could step up efforts to restore order in work and daily life in areas under their jurisdiction, while adapting to the new normal of Covid-19 control by establishing a sound long-term epidemic response system that ensures early detection, quick response, targeted prevention and control, and effective treatment. Every effort has been made to stem the virus spread in the capital of Beijing to safeguard public health.
Appropriate measures were implemented to prevent any cluster outbreaks in key locations, major organizations, and priority population groups, and manage the aftermath of any such outbreaks. The elderly, children, pregnant women, students, and health workers were to be well protected as a priority.
Health management of priority population groups was enhanced. Protective measures were intensified in medical facilities, communities, office buildings, shopping malls and supermarkets, passenger terminals, transport vehicles, child-care centers and kindergartens, elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, nursing homes, charity houses, mental health institutions, and first-aid stations. These measures were implemented nationwide, covering all population groups, locations, and communities, and leaving no areas unattended and no hidden dangers unaddressed.
To control any inbound infections from overseas, China has strictly enforced its border health and quarantine rules to ensure a full, closed cycle of management of all arrivals, from their entry at the border to the doorstep of where they would stay. Sustained, meticulous efforts have been made to prevent both inbound cases and a recurrence in domestic cases.
Legal safeguards for epidemic prevention and control were strengthened.China listed Covid-19 as a Class B infectious disease, but addressed it with measures applicable to a Class A infectious disease under the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases. It also applied control and quarantine measures under the Frontier Health and Quarantine Law of the People’s Republic of China consistent with relevant provisions of international law and other domestic laws. Standing committees of some sub-national people’s congresses launched emergency legislation procedures as per the national legal framework, empowering local governments to introduce interim emergency administrative rules relating to healthcare and epidemic control.
The Law on Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases and measures for its implementation have been strictly enforced, and guidelines have been promulgated on controlling the disease, combating epidemic-related crimes in accordance with the law, and protecting people’s lives and health. Law and order, and market supervision have been strengthened. Price gouging, hoarding and profiteering, production and sales of counterfeit or sub-standard products, and any other crimes impeding response efforts have been punished by law. Quality and price control of anti-epidemic supplies has been reinforced, and stronger measures have been taken against deceptive and illegal advertising, ensuring social order and stability. Supervision on administrative law enforcement has been intensified during epidemic control to ensure that the law is enforced in a strict, impartial, procedure-based, and non-abusive way. Legal disputes associated with the epidemic have been resolved in accordance with the law, and legal guarantees and services have been provided for Covid-19 response and for businesses returning to work. The government has also made greater efforts to raise public legal awareness and guide people to act within the parameters of the law.
Prevention and control efforts have been based on science.Covid-19 is a new virus and it will take time for humanity to understand it completely. In its quest for victory over the coronavirus, China has been mapping its own route to success – one based on reliable experience, tailored to its national conditions, and rooted in sound epidemiological practice.
China values the role of experts in virology, epidemiology, clinical medicine and related fields. China’s response has been professional because its response measures were based on timely analyses and assessments by scientists and public health experts, whose views and proposals were fully respected.
China has given full support to factual and scientific research on virus infection, pathogenesis, transmission routes and transmissibility while maintaining exchanges and communication with the WHO and other countries and regions.
With a growing body of knowledge of the virus, China has modified and optimized its response measures in a timely manner to make them more effective. It has developed a Covid-19 prevention and control protocol and updated it five times based on assessments of the evolving epidemic dynamics. The protocol provides a set of reliable standards for case monitoring, epidemiological investigation, management of close contacts and of those suspected of exposure to infection, and procedure-based tests in laboratories. China has also published 15 technical manuals on epidemic prevention and control for key population groups, locations and organizations, 6 work plans on psychological counseling for people affected by Covid-19, and 50 specific technical guidelines. All of this has ensured that China’s prevention and control efforts are more targeted and science-based.
3.An All-Out Effort to Treat Patients and Save Lives
From the outset, China’s goal in its medical response to Covid-19 has been to improve the patient admission and cure rates and reduce the infection and fatality rates. The infected were treated in dedicated medical facilities where medical specialists from all over the country and all the necessary medical resources were concentrated. Both traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine were applied. A condition-specific and category-based approach was applied to medical treatment of patients. Severe cases were treated by the best doctors using the most advanced equipment, and critical supplies were pooled to save lives at all costs. It is through such efforts that the Covid-19 fatality rate in China has dropped sharply. Early medical intervention has made it possible to have patients with mild symptoms cured without delay, thus significantly reducing the risk that their condition might worsen.
Pooling premium resources to treat severe cases.The sudden appearance of Covid-19 in Wuhan put an overwhelming strain on its medical resources. There was a severe shortage of hospital beds in the early stage as the number of infections surged. By directing resources to Wuhan, China expanded the capacity of designated hospitals to deal with severe cases and increased the number of beds. Patients in severe and critical condition were gathered for treatment and intensive care at the best hospitals with the greatest capacity for accommodating patients with infectious respiratory diseases. Two hospitals with 1,000-plus beds each – Huoshenshan and Leishenshan – were built as specialist hospitals for treating infectious diseases, and a number of designated and general hospitals were expanded or remodeled. The number of beds for severe cases quickly increased from around 1,000 to more than 9,100. Hospitals were able to admit large numbers of patients who were seriously ill.
The treatment strategy for severe cases was improved, and tailored treatment provided to individual patients. Inspection teams consisting of top experts were organized to regularly inspect Wuhan’s designated hospitals and evaluate patients in critical condition and their therapeutic regimen. For those with serious underlying medical conditions, who accounted for more than 80 percent of all severe cases, case-by-case treatment was prescribed after consultation with a multidisciplinary team consisting of experts on infection, respiratory diseases, heart and kidney diseases, and intensive care. In addition, a set of standards were formulated for nursing patients in severe and critical condition, and such measures as high-flow nasal cannula oxygen therapy, non-invasive and invasive mechanical ventilation, and ventilation in a prone position were adopted. Expert consultation on complex, severe and critical cases, and fatal cases, and other core medical security systems were strictly implemented. Those who have been cured and discharged from hospital have received rigorous health monitoring, and patients in severe condition have been given quality medical treatment.
The plasma of convalescent Covid-19 patients has been collected to set up an emergency plasma reserve, and convalescent plasma therapy has been applied in clinical treatment. As of May 31, convalescent plasma had been collected from 2,765 recovered patients, and 1,689 patients had been treated with the therapy, with positive results.
Early intervention for patients with mild symptoms.China has been quick to have patients with mild symptoms admitted to designated medical facilities for early medical intervention, and has done its best to prevent mild cases from worsening. The national clinical treatment network has been expanded to include more than 10,000 hospitals dedicated to the treatment of Covid-19 patients. A national network of medical treatment coordination has also been formed to provide technical support through online consultation.
In Wuhan, faced with surging infections and considering that 80 percent of cases were mild, the city government mobilized resources to repurpose stadiums and exhibition centers into 16 temporary treatment centers. With some 14,000 beds, these centers were able to admit all confirmed mild cases for treatment. This helped to reduce infections and virus transmission in communities and prevent mild cases from worsening. The 16 treatment centers received a total of more than 12,000 patients; 8,000 and more were cured and discharged; and more than 3,500 were transferred to hospitals. While in service, these facilities had zero cases of infection, death, or relapse.
Temporary treatment centers, or Fangcang shelter hospitals, are a major innovative solution that provided enough beds to admit all confirmed cases, thus turning the tide in the battle against Covid-19. An article in The Lancet wrote, “To relieve the huge pressure on the healthcare system, Fangcang shelter hospitals have also been crucial.”2
Reviewing diagnostic and therapeutic plans and applying effective ones on a broad scale.China’s diagnostic and therapeutic plans for Covid-19 have been developed and improved through clinical practice, medical research, experimentation and regular reviews. Based on scientific knowledge and accumulated evidence, R&D results and the diagnostic and therapeutic regimens that proved effective were incorporated in the national diagnosis and treatment plans. These include seven versions of the diagnosis and treatment protocol, three editions of the protocol for severe and critical cases, two editions of the manual for mild case management, two editions of convalescent plasma therapy treatment protocol, and one rehabilitation treatment program for patients discharged from hospitals. All these protocols and plans have contributed to science-based treatment of patients and the establishment of standards for medical treatment.
In Diagnosis and Treatment Protocol for Covid-19 (Trial Version 7), information on pathological changes, clinical symptoms, criteria for diagnosis, therapies, and criteria for patient discharge was added or updated. The protocol states that asymptomatic cases may be contagious. It also notes that plasma from convalescent cases may work in treating the infected. This edition has been adopted or used for reference in a number of countries.
Concerning discharged patients, quarantining, monitoring of their health and rehabilitation, and reexamination and re-testing have all been strengthened. Integrated medical services covering treatment, rehabilitation and health monitoring have been put in place. Differentiated treatment approaches have been adopted for children and pregnant women, among other groups.
Leveraging the unique strength of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).Both TCM and Western medicine were used and traditional Chinese and Western drugs administered. China has leveraged the unique strength of TCM in preemptive prevention, differentiated medication, and multi-targeted intervention, and at every step of Covid-19 treatment and control. The etiology and pathogen of the disease were analyzed and confirmed through TCM methodology, as were the principles and methods of treatment. A set of TCM diagnosis and treatment protocols were developed to cover the entire process of medical observation, treatment of mild, moderate, severe, and critical cases, and recovery, and they have been applied nationwide.
TCM hospitals were used in the treatment of Covid-19 patients, and TCM teams took charge of and ran some wards for patients in severe condition at designated hospitals and some treatment centers. All the other shelter hospitals had resident TCM experts. TCM has played its part in the entire process of Covid-19 response, from early intervention to administering case-specific treatment. TCM drugs and treatment methods were used for early intervention and treatment of patients with mild symptoms; for patients with severe symptoms they were used in combination with Western medicine; for those under medical observation for fever and those who had been in close contact with confirmed cases they served to improve immunity; they helped to strengthen the constitution of those who had recovered. A national TCM coordination network was formed to offer guidance to patients recovering from the disease.
Chinese herbal formulas and drugs were administered to 92 percent of all confirmed cases. In Hubei Province, more than 90 percent of confirmed cases received TCM treatment that proved effective. Jinhua Qinggan Granules, Lianhua Qingwen Capsules/Granules, Xuebijing Injection, Lung Cleansing and Detoxifying Preparation, Dampness Resolving and Detoxifying Preparation, Lung Diffusing and Detoxifying Preparation, and other TCM drugs and herbal formulas have proved effective in treating different types of Covid-19 patients. They have significantly reduced the incidence rate, prevented cases with mild symptoms from worsening, increased the cure rate, lowered the fatality rate, helped nucleic acid turn negative, and sped up the rehabilitation of recovered Covid-19 patients.
Providing free treatment for patients.Government funds for Covid-19 control were made available in advance to ensure that patients could receive timely treatment and local authorities could proceed smoothly with measures for medical treatment and epidemic control. As of May 31, a total of RMB162.4 billion had been allocated by governments of all levels to fight the virus.
Policies for medical insurance were quickly adjusted, with clear provisions for confirmed or suspected Covid-19 patients. They could get treatment with delayed settlement of accounts. All Covid-19 patients, confirmed or suspected, received subsidies from state finance for any medical bills not covered by basic medical insurance, serious disease insurance, or the medical assistance fund. In the case of patients receiving treatment in places where they were not registered for basic medical insurance, their medical bills related to Covid-19 were paid by the local insurance fund first and settled later.
As of May 31, the medical bills of 58,000 inpatients with confirmed infections had been settled by basic medical insurance, with a total expenditure of RMB1.35 billion, or RMB23,000 per person. The average cost for treating Covid-19 patients in severe condition surpassed RMB150,000, and in some critical cases the individual cost exceeded RMB1 million, all covered by the state.
Strengthening infection control at medical institutions and ensuring personal protection for health workers.A set of technical manuals and normative documents on infection control were developed to regulate the layout of key areas in medical institutions and the consultation and treatment process, including clean zones, partially contaminated zones, contaminated zones, and separate passages for medical staff and patients. Health workers received training in workplace infection control, and nationwide supervision was strengthened to ensure control measures were implemented to the letter. Targeted guidance was given to the hardest-hit areas, hospitals at a higher risk of infection among staff, and areas and hospitals under the greatest pressure in treating patients. A major effort was put into the sorting, collection, storage and removal of medical waste, and the treatment of the remains of the deceased.
All emergency medical teams coming to Wuhan and Hubei from other parts of China had at least one infection control expert. Thanks to this arrangement, there have been no cases of infection in the teams. Since February there has been a sharp drop in the number of reported infections among medical staff nationwide. Health workers have been cared for and their needs attended to. A series of policies and measures have been introduced to ensure their wellbeing, such as psychological counseling and staff rotation, to ease their physical and psychological stress, help them stay healthy, and allow them to continue the fight on the front line.
4.China Has Released Information in an Open and Transparent Manner as Required by Law
While making an all-out effort to contain the virus, China has also acted with a keen sense of responsibility to humanity, its people, posterity, and the international community. It has provided information on Covid-19 in a thoroughly professional and efficient way. It has released authoritative and detailed information as early as possible on a regular basis, thus effectively responding to public concern and building public consensus. Its experience is something other countries can draw on in their fight against the virus.
A strict system of information release has been established.China has released information on Covid-19 in a timely, open and transparent manner as required by law. Strict regulations are in place to see there is no withholding of information, underreporting, or delay in reporting cases of infection. On December 31, 2019, the Wuhan government began to release coronavirus information in accordance with the law, and gradually increased the frequency of release. Since January 21, 2020, the NHC has provided daily updates on nationwide cases on its official website and social media platform, and provincial health departments have done the same on local cases. Starting from February 3, the NHC has released the information simultaneously on its English-language website.
A tiered news release mechanism has been formed.At both national and local levels, a tiered information release mechanism has been formed to circulate authoritative information through various channels and platforms, both onsite and online, in order to address domestic and international concerns on virus control, medical treatment, and scientific research. By May 31, the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism and the Information Office of the State Council had held 161 press conferences during which officials from more than 50 government departments appeared over 490 times and answered more than 1,400 questions from Chinese and foreign media. One hundred and three press conferences had been held in Hubei and 1,050 in the other provinces.
Covid-19 statistics have been updated in accordance with the law.In the early stage of Covid-19 control, there were late, incomplete and erroneous reports of Covid-19 cases in Wuhan due to unverified deaths at home, inadequate hospital capacity, hospitals being overwhelmed, and incomplete recording of deaths. After the domestic spread of Covid-19 had been brought under control, the city updated the number of confirmed cases and deaths based on big data application and an epidemiological investigation to ensure accuracy of the data, and released the results in an open and transparent manner in accordance with the law.
Covid-19-related information is provided through various channels and platforms.The NHC’s official Chinese and English websites and its social media platform have special sections where Covid-19-related information is released on a daily basis, including information on relevant policies, progress in China’s containment efforts, updates on disease prevention and control, and clarifications that refute rumors. Information on local Covid-19 control has been promptly released on government websites and social media platforms of all provinces. To disseminate knowledge about its Covid-19 response, China has released relevant information through platforms for popularizing science, and through the media and the internet. Leading medical experts have offered advice on routine self-protection to help the public see Covid-19 in a rational way and forestall panic. The media has expanded public outreach and sent a positive message in combating the virus, and public opinion has played its role of oversight to help solve problems affecting virus control.
5.Science and Technology Underpin China’s Efforts
Science and technology are the sharp blade that humanity wields in the battle against disease. Such battles could not have been won without scientific advances and technological innovation. Confronted by Covid-19, a previously unknown virus, China has exploited the pioneering role of science and technology and fully applied the results of scientific and technical innovation in recent years. Top scientific research resources have gathered from around the nation to support virus control. Focusing on the main battlefield of Wuhan and coordinating efforts in the most severely-affected areas and across the rest of the country, China pinpointed key R&D areas for different stages of virus control. The close coordination between scientific research, clinical application, and frontline virus control, and between enterprises, universities, and research institutes, has given powerful support for the war against the virus.
Key progress has been made in scientific research.Following the principles of safety, effectiveness and availability, China has accelerated the R&D and application of medicines, vaccines, and new test kits. To meet the urgent needs of frontline virus control, and to ensure traceability of infection sources, diagnosis and treatment of patients, and prevention and control of infections, China has pooled resources from enterprises, universities, and research institutes, directing them to focus on five areas – clinical treatment, new medicines and vaccines, testing techniques and products, viral etiology and epidemiology, and animal model construction. Top research resources from around the nation have been galvanized to work on these tasks in pursuit of early results and application. A total of 83 emergency R&D programs have been initiated. Vaccines are being developed in five categories – inactivated vaccines, recombinant protein vaccines, live attenuated influenza vaccines, adenovirus vaccines, and nucleic acid-based vaccines. To date, four inactivated vaccines and one adenovirus vaccine have been approved for clinical trials. While scientists in China and abroad have kept up with mutual developments, China leads the world in the development of certain types of vaccines. Research teams have also been assembled to trace the origin of Covid-19.
Scientific R&D has been integrated with clinical treatment and epidemic control.Having promptly developed nucleic acid test kits, China has also introduced a range of high-sensitivity, easy-to-use test equipment and reagents. Its R&D of reagents covers nucleic acid testing, gene testing, and immunological testing.
Putting existing medicines to new use, China has searched for effective medicines and new therapies, and summarized clinical experience based on rigorous in vitro experiments and pathogenic research. Ten types of medicine, including chloroquine phosphate, tocilizumab, finished TCM drugs, and herbal preparations, as well as convalescent plasma therapy, have been adopted in treatment plans. Approval for clinical trial has been given to four medicines, and guidelines formed or expert consensus reached in five areas. Clinical treatments have been trialed, and diagnosis and treatment methods and medicines that have proven clinically effective have been rolled out at a faster pace. Biosecurity has been strengthened at laboratories, as has the management of blood samples for Covid-19 testing and biological samples for laboratory testing.
Big data and artificial intelligence have been used in epidemic control.China has fully utilized big data, artificial intelligence, and other new technologies in research and analysis to forecast the trend of Covid-19 developments. These tools have also been exhaustively applied in epidemiological investigations to find every infected person and track every close contact for quarantine. A database has been set up in accordance with the law to provide data services for virus risk control, precisely identify different groups at risk, predict risk factors in different areas, and facilitate the orderly flow of people and the resumption of business operations. Via online platforms based on 5G technology, epidemiological teams in remote mountainous areas have been able to engage in real-time discussion with top experts thousands of miles away. With authorization from the public, health QR codes and digital travel records have been employed as permits for making trips, going to school or work, and accessing certain public venues, and for other daily errands. The results shown on the codes and records provide a base for travel control and differentiated response measures, which has made risk identification and targeted control possible in different areas and at different levels. Applying big data technology, an “epidemic map” has been created to display the specific names and locations of the communities where cases have been reported and the number of infections that has been ascertained. The map has made it easier for the public to guard against infection.
Through the battle against Covid-19, China has accumulated valuable experience in responding to major public health emergencies, and deficiencies in the national response system have been exposed. Summarizing this experience and learning from lessons, China will adopt a series of important measures to reinforce weak links. China will:
• reform and improve the disease prevention and control system;
• establish a major epidemic prevention, control and treatment system adapted to both times of peace and times of crisis;
• improve the emergency supply system;
• strengthen the new strategy of pooling nationwide resources for breakthroughs in core technologies;
• continue to implement initiatives to improve public sanitation; and
• improve the public health system.
China will make solid efforts to build capacity and improve its response to major public health emergencies, and better safeguard people’s lives and health.
III. Assembling a Powerful Force to Beat the Virus
Facing the sudden onslaught of a previously unknown virus, China has put the people’s interests first – nothing is more precious than people’s lives. It has rapidly mobilized the manpower and resources of the whole nation and done everything possible to protect the lives and health of its people. A powerful synergy has been formed thanks to the following factors: observing the people-centered governance philosophy of the CPC; China’s ability to mobilize resources to accomplish major initiatives; its composite national strength built up during more than four decades of reform and opening up, particularly since the 18th CPC National Congress held in November 2012; remarkable achievements in modernizing governance; two defining values of Chinese culture – solidarity and mutual assistance; and the profound love of the Chinese people for their family and their country.
1.Lives Are Precious
At a critical time when people’s lives and health were endangered, the CPC and the Chinese government acted with a keen sense of responsibility and swiftly identified the problem. The central authorities took multiple factors into consideration, made timely and resolute decisions, employed extraordinary measures to deal with an extraordinary emergency, and made every effort to safeguard people’s lives and health.
Placing people’s lives above economic growth.When the novel coronavirus struck, China decided that it would protect the lives and health of its people even at the cost of a short-term economic downturn and even a temporary shutdown. The government took strict and comprehensive control measures, never tried before, in the city of Wuhan and Hubei Province. To stem the spread of the virus, the movement of people across the country was tightly restricted, the Chinese New Year holiday was extended, gatherings were stopped, and the spring semester and business operations were postponed. In an editorial, The Lancet stated: “China’s success has come with huge social and economic costs, and China must make difficult decisions to achieve an optimal balance between health and economic protection.”3
At the critical juncture of the fight against the virus, based on a precise understanding of the evolving situation, China took the major decision to continue Covid-19 prevention and control while resuming economic and social development. While restarting normal work in an orderly manner, it took targeted measures in different regions based on local conditions, so as to ensure people’s daily life and wellbeing to the greatest possible extent. Having succeeded in containing the spread of the virus on the mainland, the Chinese government adopted a strategy of preventing inbound infections and domestic resurgence, to ensure its hard-won progress would not be lost.
Saving lives at all costs.In the early stage of the epidemic, as the cases of infection soared, China made raising the cure rate and lowering the fatality rate its top priority. The best doctors and nurses were rapidly dispatched to the front line of the fight against the virus. Employing proactive, science-based, and flexible ways of treatment, they did everything possible to treat each and every patient, from an infant only 30 hours old to a centenarian. The goal was to save every single patient whatever the cost.
Medical workers braved the threat of infection to collect virus specimens. No one flinched, however daunting their task. To treat seriously ill patients, local governments and hospitals tried every means to acquire and reallocate ECMO equipment. Since the virus struck, hospitals in Wuhan designated for treating severe cases have treated more than 9,600 such cases. The recovery rate has risen from 14 percent to 89 percent, higher than the average rate for normal viral pneumonia. Tailored treatment was given to elderly patients with underlying medical conditions. As long as there was the slightest hope, doctors would never give up, and the need for personnel, medicines, equipment, or funds was met. To date, more than 3,000 patients over the age of 80, including 7 centenarians, have been cured, with many of them brought back to life from the verge of death. For example, a 70-year-old patient was saved thanks to intensive treatment and care by more than 10 medical workers over a period of several weeks. The cost of his treatment, nearly RMB1.5 million, was fully covered by the government.
Care and compassion for Chinese citizens overseas.China takes the safety of its citizens abroad very seriously. It has urged the governments of other countries to take effective measures to ensure the safety of Chinese students, the personnel of Chinese-funded institutions, and other Chinese nationals in their countries, and has supported them in doing so. Medical expert teams and work groups have been dispatched overseas and telemedicine service platforms set up, which provide scientific and professional guidance on Covid-19 prevention and control for Chinese citizens in other countries. Chinese medical teams have worked with host countries to ensure the best possible treatment for Chinese citizens diagnosed with infection. China has fully mobilized experts at home, medical teams on foreign aid missions, and other resources to assist foreign countries to provide treatment to these patients.
Performing their consular protection duties, Chinese embassies and consulates abroad have disseminated information on Covid-19 prevention and self-protection through all channels, and have provided more than 1 million “health kits” to overseas Chinese students. They have also helped overseas Chinese citizens in difficulty to return home.
National tribute to the deceased.On April 4, the Chinese traditional Tomb-sweeping Day, China paid tribute to all those who had given their lives in the fight against Covid-19, and those who had died of the disease. People throughout the country observed a silence to mourn the loss of lives and pay tribute to heroes who had protected others’ lives at the cost of their own. From the top leader to ordinary people, 1.4 billion Chinese bade farewell to their dear departed. This solemn national ceremony demonstrates that the country respects and holds in awe the dignity and lives of people as individuals. It signifies the solidarity and strength of 1.4 billion Chinese.
2.Mobilizing the Whole Country to Fight the Epidemic
When a disaster strikes in one location, help comes from all quarters. After the outbreak, the entire country acted promptly. Relying on its overall national strength, China mobilized the people, enhanced R&D, procured supplies, and brought them to those in need rapidly. It mustered the support of the whole country to assist Hubei, and particularly Wuhan, to combat the disease. It pooled all its strength in the shortest period of time, and halted the spread of the epidemic. Hailing the speed and scale of China’s response, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described it as unprecedented, and said it showed the efficiency and the strength of China’s system.4
Launching the largest medical assistance operation since the founding of the PRC.China mobilized all its medical resources to support the efforts in Wuhan and other locations in Hubei. From January 24, Chinese New Year’s Eve, to March 8, it rallied 346 national medical teams, consisting of 42,600 medical workers and more than 900 public health professionals to the immediate aid of Hubei and the city of Wuhan. Nineteen provinces and equivalent administrative units assisted 16 other cities in Hubei in the form of paired assistance. While burdened with the heavy responsibility of coronavirus prevention and control and treatment of patients in their home cities, they still pooled together quality medical resources to assist Hubei and Wuhan.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) dispatched over 4,000 medical personnel to Hubei to work in epidemic control. They took on medical work in three designated medical institutions, including Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan. The PLA Air Force dispatched aircraft to transport emergency medical supplies. Medical teams were formed within two hours of receiving the order, and they arrived at their destinations within 24 hours, carrying a seven-day stock of protective materials. On arrival, they started to treat patients right away.
The government urgently solicited automatic temperature measuring equipment, negative pressure ambulances, ventilators, electrocardiogram monitors, and other key medical supplies from across the country for Wuhan and other locations in Hubei (see Table 1). It mobilized 40,000 construction workers and several thousand sets of machinery and equipment to build two hospitals. The construction of the 1,000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital was completed in just 10 days, and that of the 1,600-bed Leishenshan Hospital in just 12 days. In 10 short days, 16 temporary treatment centers providing over 14,000 beds were built. To increase blood supply for clinical use in surgery, 10 provinces donated to Hubei 45,000 units of red blood cells, 1,762 therapeutic doses of platelets, and 1,370 liters of fresh frozen plasma (not including convalescent plasma). These massive and powerful medical assistance actions have guaranteed Covid-19 treatment in Hubei and Wuhan, greatly relieving the pressure on the hardest-hit areas caused by severe shortages of medical resources.
Table 1. Medical Supplies Sent to Hubei since the Onset of the Epidemic
(As of April 30)
Increasing the production and supply of medical supplies and medical support services.Victory in the battle against Covid-19 depends on logistical support. In view of the extreme scarcity of medical protective materials in Wuhan during the early stage of the epidemic, medical workers on the front line overcame difficulties and used every item for the longest possible time, so as to conserve them in the race to save lives. To address the shortfall in medical resources while patient numbers surged, China exploited the full strength of its comprehensive and resilient manufacturing sector and its complete industrial chain.
To overcome the unfavorable combination of a pause in work and the resultant decline in manufacturing output during the Chinese New Year holiday, the Chinese government mobilized factories across the country to operate at full capacity and tap into their full potential. With all its strength, it supported raw materials supplies and transport facilities throughout the industrial chain, so as to ensure large-scale production and distribution of materials for epidemic prevention and control. Medical manufacturers overcame such difficulties as labor shortages caused by workers not having returned to their posts. They resumed production as quickly as possible, and expanded capacity to the maximum.
Enterprises in other industries made rapid adjustments to their manufacturing facilities and turned to producing masks, protective suits, disinfectants, temperature measuring devices, and other products for the fight against the epidemic, thereby effectively expanding the overall output of such materials and equipment. The Chinese government quickly started procedures to review applications for producing medical supplies in times of emergency, and imposed stricter quality and safety supervision across the board, so as to facilitate production, ensure the quickest approval for sale, and guarantee supplies.
As of May 31, relevant authorities had approved 19 applications for clinical trials of 17 medicines and vaccines for coronavirus prevention and control, and conditionally approved the applications for sale of two medicines. Thanks to the joint efforts of many parties, manufacturing capacity for medical supplies increased steadily, and efforts to ensure the supply of medical materials and equipment achieved rapid progress: from acute shortage to borderline sufficiency, then from demand-supply balance to timely and sufficient supplies (see Table 2). The daily output of medical N95 masks and medical non-N95 masks increased from 130,000 and 5.86 million in early February to over 5 million and 200 million by the end of April. These efforts opened up unimpeded supply chains and logistics channels, gave birth to a coordination mechanism ensuring material supply, and allowed continuous transport of materials from across the country to the hardest-hit areas.
Table 2. Production of Key Medical Supplies
(As of April 30)
Coordinating and ensuring the supply of daily necessities.Once outbound traffic from Wuhan had been halted, nearly 10 million people were under home isolation in the city, requiring a huge amount of grain, vegetables, meat, eggs, and milk every day. A coordination mechanism was established to ensure supply of such products, which involved nine provinces, and 500 enterprises for prioritizing the shipment of supplies in times of emergency. The mechanism involved coordination between central and local governments, and joint actions by government and enterprises. It boosted the supply of grain and cooking oil, released central government reserves of frozen pork, and raised the supply capacity of provinces which are major vegetable bases. Transport teams were organized for emergency supplies, and forceful measures were taken to ensure the production, stocks, supply, and price stability of daily necessities for residents in Hubei, and particularly in Wuhan.
From January 27 to March 19, 928,800 tonnes of epidemic prevention and control materials and daily necessities were transported from across the country to Hubei via railway, highway, waterway, civil aviation, and express postal services. Bulk goods such as thermal coal and fuel totaling 1.49 million tonnes were also shipped. Sufficient supplies of coal, electricity, fuel, gas, and heat ensured the normal functioning of society and the smooth implementation of quarantine measures in Hubei and particularly in Wuhan. In Wuhan, delivery of daily necessities was included in community services, thus the last link of daily distribution – from supermarkets to communities – was assured. Through contactless delivery, vegetables that had gone through quarantine and met the standards were delivered directly to communities, meeting residents’ needs and ensuring safety in terms of epidemic prevention.
Public participation in virus control.Trade unions, Communist Youth League organizations, women’s federations, and other mass organizations organized and mobilized their contacts among the general public to get involved in Covid-19 prevention and control. Urban and rural residents, enterprises, and social organizations donated money and materials. Charities and the Red Cross Society of China improved the allocation of donated funds and materials, with a focus on Wuhan and other severely affected areas inside Hubei Province and elsewhere. As of May 31, they had received donations totaling about RMB38.93 billion and 990 million items of different materials. Of these, RMB32.83 billion and 940 million items had been disbursed.
Since the onset of the epidemic, fellow countrymen and women in Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, and overseas Chinese have given a helping hand through various means and channels. They have actively donated money and materials for epidemic prevention and control. This shows how much we Chinese at home and abroad are committed to each other and demonstrates the unity and cohesion of the Chinese nation in times of difficulty.
3.Coordinating Prevention and Control with Social and Economic Development
Without compromising Covid-19 control, China has steadily resumed social and economic activities in an orderly way, so as to stabilize the six fronts (employment, finance, foreign trade, inbound investment, domestic investment, and market expectations), and guarantee the six priorities (jobs, daily living needs, food and energy, industrial and supply chains, the interests of market players, and the smooth functioning of grassroots government).
It has fostered a social and economic order under the conditions imposed by Covid-19 control and striven to minimize their impact on social and economic development, thus providing a strong material and social buttress for the fight against the epidemic.
Maintaining social order and stability.China has made every effort to ensure social order and stability, market order, public security, and supervision over the quality and pricing of epidemic-control supplies. It has adopted timely policies to ensure the basic livelihood of people in difficulties caused by Covid-19. Psychological counseling is provided to ease distress, nurture a healthy mindset, prevent and resolve potential problems, and defuse local disputes.
Despite strict measures such as traffic control and home-based quarantine, the economy and society have remained resilient. The supply of water, electricity, natural gas and telecommunication services continues, as does the supply of daily necessities in urban and rural areas. Key sectors providing food, pharmaceuticals, energy, basic industrial products, and public services that are essential to social stability and people’s wellbeing are in normal operation, meeting the basic needs of 1.4 billion people.
Orderly resumption of work.The central government has quickly adopted a host of policies to reduce the burdens of businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises and self-employed people. These include measures such as reducing fees and lowering taxes, increasing government subsidies, strengthening financial support, stabilizing and expanding employment, and improving government services.
Local governments have issued detailed rules to implement these policies, especially to help the 10,000 plus key enterprises essential to Covid-19 control, public services, and daily necessities. Comprehensive services are being provided to help enterprises to resume operation, including providing personal protective gear and facilitating the flow of labor and materials. Point-to-point buses, trains and planes were chartered to send migrant workers back to their work posts. Preferential tax treatments such as exemption from value-added tax are available to businesses in transport, catering, hospitality, tourism, sport, entertainment and other sectors hit hard by the epidemic. Businesses also enjoy a temporary reduction in or exemption from social security contributions, a waiver of highway tolls, and reduced electricity and gas prices, and they are allowed to postpone their housing provident fund payments. Rent is being reduced for small and micro enterprises and the self-employed. The principal and interest repayment periods on loans to micro, small and medium enterprises are being extended, and more concessional loans are being provided.
Key groups such as college graduates and migrant workers are receiving support in finding jobs or starting businesses. Subsidies given to micro, small and medium enterprises to reduce layoffs are being extended to more businesses so as to stabilize employment and help them survive.
Policies on export tax rebates and export credit insurance are being put to good use, export credits expanded and new export markets explored. The negative list of market access for foreign investment has been cut to attract foreign investment. All these efforts will cut burdens on enterprises and stimulate their growth.
State-owned enterprises have taken the lead in resuming operations, providing impetus for upstream and downstream industries, including small and medium enterprises. By the end of April, 99 percent of companies of designated size – with a revenue of more than RMB20 million per annum – had resumed operations, as had 88.4 percent of micro, small and medium enterprises. Construction of over 95 percent of major projects across the country had resumed. In Hubei Province, more than 98.2 percent of enterprises of designated size had resumed operations, and 92.1 percent of their employees had returned to their jobs, and both these figures were close to the national average. Now, work on some key national science and technology projects, major national projects related to people’s daily lives, and landmark foreign-funded projects has resumed. The Chinese economy is accelerating its return to normal operation, and it is becoming increasingly robust.
Gradual return to normal life.With steady progress made in Covid-19 control, public life is gradually returning to normal. Public transport services have fully resumed. More restaurants are reopening to the public. The May Day holiday in China saw a bustle of activity. During the five-day holiday, 121 million trips were made via railways, highways, waterways and air; and 115 million visits were paid to domestic tourist attractions, generating revenue of RMB47.56 billion.
Services such as shops, supermarkets, hotels, and restaurants have reopened their doors under Covid-19 control conditions. Students across the country have resumed their studies, and some have now returned to school. As of May 31, 163 million students and children in some grades of kindergarten, elementary and secondary schools across the country had returned to school or kindergarten. Public life is returning to normal in China, with people resuming their daily routines and consumption gradually picking up.
4.Uniting as One – China’s Billion People
All citizens share a responsibility for the fate of their country. The 1.4 billion Chinese people, irrespective of their gender, age, and occupation, have plunged themselves into the battle against the epidemic. Resilient and united, they represent a formidable force.
Medical workers rose to the challenge.Medical workers, from the very young to the very old, showed no hesitation in confronting the epidemic. At the outset, some 540,000 medical workers from Wuhan and other parts of Hubei plunged into the fray, joined soon by more than 40,000 civilian and military medical workers who rushed from other parts of the country. Millions of medical workers grappled with the epidemic at the front line across the country. Showing professional devotion and a deep respect for life, many of them risked their own lives, racing against time and working round the clock to try to save every patient. They built a Great Wall against the virus, bringing light and hope to the nation at a dark time. They endured tremendous fatigue and stress, and paid a heavy price. More than 2,000 medical workers were infected, and scores died in the line of duty. No one is born a hero, yet their selflessness made them fearless. These people, with the nobility, kindness, and devotion that are intrinsic to their profession, have etched an unforgettable chapter in the history of the Chinese nation and in the hearts of the Chinese people.
People in Wuhan and other parts of Hubei fought with resolve against the novel coronavirus and made sacrifices to contain its spread.The people of Wuhan and Hubei were confronted with many challenges. All channels of exit from the city and the province were temporarily closed, intra-city public transport was suspended, and the capital city came to a standstill. The high risk of infection, tight supply of medical and daily necessities, and extended period of isolation were compounded by the trauma of bereavement for those who lost friends or family members to the virus. However, with grit in their hearts and the wider interests of others in their minds, they united to stop the transmission of the virus. In this great war, their heroism will be remembered and will go down in history.
Community workers, primary and community-level officials, officials sent to work in communities, police, and customs officers worked day and night to protect lives and public safety.Some 4 million community workers are working in around 650,000 urban and rural communities, monitoring the situation, taking body temperatures, screening for infection, disseminating government policies, and sanitizing neighborhoods. Dedicated and responsible, they have meticulously protected their communities from the virus. CPC members working in communities quickly communicated the policies of the Party and the government, mobilized residents to engage in epidemic prevention and control, and actively helped them solve their daily difficulties. They divided communities into sub-units called grids to improve services and management.
Police and auxiliary police officers handled emergent, dangerous, difficult, and burdensome tasks such as guarding hospitals, transporting patients, and patrolling the streets to maintain order. More than 130 have died in the line of duty.
Customs officers have applied the law and carried out quarantine and other health-related duties, preventing the virus from entering the country.
Couriers, sanitation workers, transport employees, media workers, volunteers, and many people from other sectors of society also devoted themselves to the fight against the epidemic.When things were at their most serious, while people kept their doors closed, millions of couriers braved the virus and the cold, delivering warmth and comfort to people in cities and rural areas.
China’s 1.8 million sanitation workers worked from dawn to dusk to clean and disinfect public spaces, and collect and transport medical and other wastes to centralized treatment facilities.
Tens of millions of transport employees, including taxi drivers in many cities, remained at their posts, providing a vital support to epidemic prevention and control, carrying supplies for work and daily life, and helping to get the country back to work.
Some media workers also worked at the front line, recording the battle against the epidemic, spreading warmth, and evoking strength.
Many ordinary people volunteered at the front line, standing guard in communities, screening for infection, carrying out cleaning and disinfection work, and buying medicines and delivering groceries for other residents’ pressing needs. Preliminary statistics show that as of May 31, 8.81 million registered volunteers across the country had participated in more than 460,000 volunteer projects, rendering a total of more than 290 million hours of voluntary service.
The general public shouldered their responsibilities, united as one, and proactively participated in epidemic prevention and control.In the face of adversity, Chinese people have great faith in the Party and the government. They courageously shouldered their social responsibilities, and on this occasion made great sacrifices to win the battle against the epidemic.
The Chinese New Year holiday arrived amid the epidemic. Following government orders to contain the virus, the whole population acted in concert, and social exchanges shrank to a minimum. Visits to friends and relatives were canceled and so were other gatherings; people quarantined themselves, wore masks, began to take their body temperature regularly, and practiced other social distancing measures. The consensus was that protecting oneself was protecting others and making contribution to the country, so everyone took voluntary actions against the virus. People stayed at home for extended periods of time, taking online courses, honing culinary skills, and spending time with their families. Many found creative ways to keep themselves occupied, and confronted the epidemic with a positive attitude.
Speaking of the general public in China, Dr. Bruce Aylward, former assistant director general of the WHO and senior advisor to WHO director general, said at the press conference of WHO-China Joint Mission on Covid-19 held on February 24 in Beijing, “And that’s because we want to emphasize this can’t work without the collective will of the population contributing to it. And that’s what really distinguishes this country, this response and the ability to take these old-fashioned strategies, some of the earliest ones we had in public health, apply them to the most modern virus and somehow do that.”5
A major crisis is a litmus test of the ruling Party’s governance philosophy and effectiveness. The strong leadership of the CPC has been fundamental to China’s rapid containment of the virus. The CPC has a strong leadership core, a people-oriented governance philosophy, and well-established organization and operation mechanisms. It quickly made the right decisions in response to the crisis. Under its leadership, efficient and powerful response measures were implemented. Within a short time, across-the-board crisis-response mechanisms were established down to the community level, motivating all those involved across the country to follow instructions and act as one.
The CPC has more than 4.6 million primary-level organizations, which have served as strongholds against the epidemic, rallying and serving the general public. With the epidemic putting people’s lives and safety in danger, CPC members have acted as the vanguard. More than 39 million CPC members fought the virus at the front line, and more than 13 million CPC members volunteered their services. Nearly 400 CPC members have defended others’ lives and safety at the cost of their own. Party members have also voluntarily donated money for epidemic prevention and control.
The CPC attaches great importance to tempering its members in times of trial, to gauge their commitment to serving the people and their sense of responsibility. The leadership of Wuhan City and Hubei Province was reshuffled, with some officials sanctioned for irresponsibility and dereliction of duty while others have been honored and promoted for their dedication and sense of responsibility.
After weathering the epidemic, the Chinese people have keenly realized that the CPC leadership is the most reliable shelter against storms. Their trust in and support for the Party have increased, along with their confidence in China’s political system.
IV. Building a Global Community of Health for All
Coronavirus is raging all over the world, and lives are being lost every day. In the face of this serious crisis humanity once again stands at a crossroads. Which route shall we take? Shall we uphold science and rationality, or shall we manufacture political disputes? Strengthen unity and cooperation, or seek isolation? Promote multilateral coordination, or pursue unilateralism? Every country has a choice to make. China believes that all countries should make the choice that is right for the interests of all humanity and the wellbeing of our future generations. Upholding the vision of a global community of shared future, we should support each other and join hands to contain the spread of the virus, and protect the health and wellbeing of people across the globe.
1.China Appreciates Support from the International Community
At the time when the situation in China was at its most difficult, the international community provided valuable support and assistance to our country and our people. Leaders of more than 170 countries, heads of 50 international and regional organizations, and more than 300 foreign political parties and organizations expressed solidarity and support for China through phone calls, letters, and statements. Seventy-seven countries and 12 international organizations donated emergency medical supplies, including masks, protective suits, goggles, and ventilators. Donations of materials were also made by local governments, enterprises, non-governmental organizations and people from 84 countries. The BRICS New Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank provided emergency loans of RMB7 billion and RMB2.485 billion, while the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank offered loans for the building of China’s public health emergency management system. China appreciates the understanding and support of the international community, which our people will always cherish. The Chinese nation never forgets the help and generosity it receives, and always reciprocates with the same goodwill. We are now doing all we can to support the international community in the fight against the coronavirus.
2.China Conducts Active International Exchanges and Cooperation
China has been carrying out exchanges and cooperation with the international community from the outset. It has strengthened high-level communication, shared information, and cooperated in scientific research with international organizations and other countries, and done all it can to provide assistance, contributing ingenuity and strength to the global fight against the coronavirus. The CPC has issued a joint appeal with 240 political parties in more than 110 countries, calling on all stakeholders to put people’s lives and health first, uphold the vision of a global community of shared future, and pull together to combat the virus.
President Xi has personally promoted international cooperation.In phone calls or meetings with nearly 50 foreign leaders and heads of international organizations, President Xi explained China’s tactics and achievements in fighting the virus, and emphasized China’s open, transparent and responsible approach towards releasing information and sharing its experience in virus control and the treatment of infected cases. He expressed empathy for the difficulties faced by other countries, saying that China would do all it can to help them. He called on all parties to build a global community of shared future, strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and support international organizations in order to work together to meet the challenge.
President Xi delivered a speech at the G20 Extraordinary Leaders’ Summit on Covid-19 on China’s experience. In a call on the international community to rise to the challenge and act swiftly, he put forward a series of cooperation initiatives and four key proposals – launch an all-out global war against Covid-19, establish a collective response for control and treatment at the international level, support international organizations in playing their roles, and strengthen coordination of international macroeconomic policies.
On May 18, he addressed the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly, calling for a joint effort on the part of all countries to overcome the virus and build a global community of health for all. Six proposals were put forward: to do everything we can for Covid-19 control and treatment, to support the WHO in leading the global response, to provide greater support for Africa, to strengthen global governance in public health, to restore economic and social development, and to strengthen international cooperation. He also announced a series of major measures that China would take in supporting the global fight, including US$2 billion of international aid over two years, the establishment of a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China in cooperation with the United Nations, the establishment of a cooperation mechanism for Chinese hospitals to pair up with 30 African hospitals, the Covid-19 vaccine to be used as a global public product once it is developed and deployed in China, and the implementation of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for the poorest countries together with other G20 members.
China has shared information and experience with the international community.China has provided support for global virus prevention and control by promptly sharing information and experience with the international community. It wasted no time in releasing information such as the whole coronavirus genome sequence and the specific primers and probes for detecting the coronavirus to the WHO and other relevant countries and regional organizations, and has kept them informed with regular updates. China has conducted more than 70 exchanges with international and regional organizations including ASEAN, the European Union, the African Union (AU), APEC, the Caribbean Community, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), as well as the ROK, Japan, Russia, the United States, Germany, and other countries. The National Health Commission (NHC) has worked out diagnosis, treatment, prevention and control solutions, had them translated into three languages, and shared them with over 180 countries and more than 10 international and regional organizations. Together with the WHO it held an international briefing via video link on China’s experience in Covid-19 control. The Information Office of the State Council held two special English-language press conferences in Wuhan, inviting experts and frontline health workers to talk about China’s experience and practices. To build platforms for exchanges between countries, the Chinese media has designed a TV program Covid-19 Frontline and a newspaper column Fighting Covid-19 the Chinese Way, among others. Chinese think tanks and experts have communicated with their counterparts around the world in a variety of ways. The WHO-China Joint Mission on Covid-19 made site visits to Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Wuhan, and spoke highly of China’s efforts and success in prevention and control.
China has provided humanitarian assistance to the international community.Even while under the tremendous pressure of coronavirus control, China has moved quickly to provide as much assistance to the international community as it can. It has provided two batches of cash support totaling US$50 million to the WHO, assisted the organization in purchasing personal protective equipment and establishing reserve centers of supplies in China, and helped its Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund to raise funds in China. It has also participated in the WHO’s “Access to Covid-19 Tools (act) Accelerator” initiative, aiming to speed up the development, production and equitable distribution of new tools.
China has been active in providing medical aid to other countries. As of May 31, China had sent 29 medical expert teams to 27 countries, and offered assistance to 150 countries and 4 international organizations. It has instructed its medical teams stationed in 56 countries to support the local fight, and provide counseling and health information to local people and overseas Chinese. They have so far organized over 400 online and offline training sessions in this regard. Local governments, enterprises, non-governmental organizations and individuals in China have donated materials to more than 150 countries and regions, and international organizations through various channels. The Chinese government has always had at heart the lives and health of foreigners in China, and it has provided undifferentiated and timely treatment to those infected with the disease.
China has made arrangements for orderly exports of protective materials.While ensuring domestic needs, China has tried every possible means to provide support to all countries in purchasing protective materials. It has smoothed the channels for supply-demand docking, organized logistics, transport, and the supply of goods, and accelerated export customs clearance. It has taken effective measures to control product quality, regulate export procedures, issue guidelines on foreign market access, and strengthen market and export quality supervision, so as to provide other countries with goods of the highest quality. From March 1 to May 31, China exported protective materials to 200 countries and regions, among which there were more than 70.6 billion masks, 340 million protective suits, 115 million pairs of goggles, 96,700 ventilators, 225 million test kits, and 40.29 million infrared thermometers.
China’s growing exports provide strong support for the prevention and control efforts of affected countries. From January to April, the number of China-Europe freight trains and the volume of goods delivered increased by 24 percent and 27 percent compared with the same period last year, and a total of 660,000 packages were transported. This has played an important role in maintaining a smooth flow of international industrial and supply chains, and in ensuring the delivery of protective supplies to relevant countries.
China has carried out international exchanges and cooperation on scientific research.China has strengthened communication and exchanges with the WHO, conducted exchanges and cooperation with other countries on research in virus traceability, medicines, vaccines, and testing, shared scientific research data and information, and jointly studied prevention, control and treatment strategies. The Ministry of Science and Technology, the NHC, the China Association for Science and Technology, and the Chinese Medical Association have jointly put in place a Covid-19 Academic Research Communication Platform for worldwide researchers to release results and participate in discussion. By May 31, a total of 104 journals and 970 papers and reports had been posted. The National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the SCO Committee on Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation held a video conference on the diagnosis and treatment of Covid-19 between a group of Chinese experts on integrating traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine, and hospitals from SCO countries. It also guided the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies and the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies in organizing such events as Expert Dialogue on Covid-19 Prevention and Control with Traditional Chinese Medicine and International Lectures on Covid-19.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences has released the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Resource database, and built the Novel Coronavirus National Science and Technology Resource Service System and the Covid-19 Pneumonia Scientific Literature Sharing Platform. As of May 31, the three platforms had provided nearly 48 million download, browsing and retrieval services to more than 370,000 users worldwide. China has established an international pool of experts and has cooperated with other countries in vaccine and medicine research and development. It has encouraged the Alliance of International Science Organizations in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative to promote cooperation among its members in Covid-19 treatment and research. Chinese scientists, medical institutions, and disease control centers have published dozens of well-researched papers in some of the world’s leading academic journals such as The Lancet, Science, Nature and The New England Journal of Medicine, releasing timely results of tests on the first patients, including the clinical characteristics of the virus, the risk of human-to-human transmission, China’s experience of temporary treatment centers, medicine research and development, and experimental results of vaccines on animals. To accelerate the development of vaccines and the clinical trials of medicines, China has also carried out cooperation in scientific research with other countries, and with such organizations as the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation.
3.International Solidarity and Cooperation in Fighting the Pandemic
The global spread of Covid-19 is causing great concern. Both the fight to rein in the virus and the endeavor to fend off a deepening global recession call for the international community to stand in unity and engage in cooperation. They also call for multilateralism, and commitment to building a global community of shared future. Solidarity and cooperation are the most powerful weapons available to the international community in the war against the pandemic. What we do today determines how we will fare in the future. China calls on all countries to act promptly, demonstrate solidarity, strengthen cooperation on all fronts, and fight the pandemic together.
Conducting effective international cooperation on joint prevention and control.In responding to a pandemic, all countries must act in coordination to establish an impermeable network for joint prevention and control. Since Covid-19 struck, the WHO has diligently performed its duties, adopted an objective and impartial stance, and taken a slew of professional, science-based, and effective measures. It has made a significant contribution to the fight against the pandemic by leading and advancing global cooperation. China firmly supports the WHO in playing the leading role in this global battle, and calls on the international community to give it more political and financial support, so that we can mobilize the necessary resources worldwide to defeat this virus.
China maintains that all countries should implement their response under the guidance and coordination of the WHO. This includes adopting science-based, rational, and well-coordinated prevention and control measures, appropriately allocating medical resources and key supplies, adopting effective methods in key areas such as prevention, isolation, testing, treatment and case tracing, stepping up information sharing and experience exchanges, engaging in international cooperation on the research and development of testing methods, clinical treatments, drugs and vaccines, and supporting scientists around the world in studying the origin and transmission routes of the virus.
China calls on multilateral organizations, including the G20, APEC, BRICS, and SCO, to increase dialogue, exchanges and policy coordination within their respective frameworks. G20 members should act on the consensus reached at the G20 Extraordinary Leaders’ Summit on Covid-19 held in late March 2020.
In international cooperation on joint prevention and control, it is essential that major countries take the initiative, fulfill their responsibilities and do their share of the work. China is ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with other countries including the US to jointly tackle this pandemic, especially in the fields of research, development, production and distribution of vaccines and drugs.
Managing the pandemic’s impact on the world economy through cooperation.The global spread of the pandemic has impeded the flow of people, cross-border trade, and other economic activities, triggered fluctuations on the financial market, and delivered a blow to both the industrial and supply chains, making a severe global economic recession unavoidable. It is imperative that the international community work together to stabilize and rehabilitate the world economy. While continuing to heighten epidemic control, China is ready to join forces with other countries to address the deepening global recession, stepping up international coordination on macroeconomic policies, and jointly safeguarding the stable, secure and smooth operation of international industrial and supply chains.
Covid-19 is changing the form but not the general trend of economic globalization. Decoupling, erecting walls and deglobalization may divide the world, but will not do any good to those who themselves are engaged in these acts. China believes that the international community should proceed with globalization, safeguard the multilateral trading system based on the WTO, cut tariffs, remove barriers, facilitate the flow of trade, and keep international industrial and supply chains secure and smooth. Countries also need to implement strong and effective fiscal and monetary policies, better coordinate financial regulation to keep global financial markets stable, and thus prevent a global financial crisis that may consequently plunge the world economy into a massive, protracted recession. China will continue to supply the international market with anti-epidemic materials, pharmaceutical ingredients, daily necessities, and other supplies. At the same time, China will continue to advance reform and opening up, expand imports and outbound investment, and thereby contribute further to other countries’ fight against the virus and to a stable world economy.
Assisting weaker countries and regions.Without assistance, developing countries with weaker public health systems in Asia, Africa and Latin America – especially Africa – will struggle to handle the daunting challenges posed by this pandemic. Helping them improve their capacity and performance in epidemic prevention and control should be a top priority in the global response. China calls on multilateral organizations including the UN, the WHO, the IMF and the World Bank to provide emergency aid to African countries, and calls on developed countries to take on more responsibilities, to play a bigger role in the global battle, and to provide more material, technological and personnel support to their developing counterparts, especially those in Africa.
China has actively participated in and acted upon the Debt Service Suspension Initiative of the G20. It has so far announced the suspension of debt repayments from 77 developing countries. In addition to the medical supplies sent to over 50 African countries and the AU, and the seven medical expert teams dispatched to the continent, China will offer more assistance to African countries, and continue to do all in its power to offer support. This includes sending the most urgent medical supplies, conducting cooperation on medical technologies, and dispatching more medical expert teams and task forces. China will also provide support to the Covid-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan of the UN.
Firmly opposing stigmatization and politicization of the virus.In the face of a novel coronavirus that poses a worldwide threat to human lives and health, the most urgent task is to defeat it through solidarity and cooperation. The common enemy of humanity is this virus, not any particular country or any particular race. China calls on the international community to come together, abandon prejudice and arrogance, resist scapegoating and other such self-serving artifices, and stand against stigmatization and politicization of the virus. In doing so we will see that the spirit of solidarity, cooperation, responsibility and dedication leads people around the world towards victory in our fight against the pandemic.
China has suffered tremendously but has contributed generously to the global efforts to combat the virus. Its efforts should be duly recognized, and it should not be criticized groundlessly. Since the early days of the outbreak China has informed the rest of the world of every development in clear and unambiguous terms. Certain countries ignored this information, and now blame China for their own failure to respond to the epidemic and protect their people’s lives. Those who are intent on maligning others will easily find a pretext. China has always acted with openness, transparency and responsibility, and informed the international community of developments of the epidemic in a timely manner. The baseless accusation that China concealed epidemic information and death figures is a calculated slur on the 1.4 billion Chinese people, including those killed by the virus, and on millions of Chinese medical workers. China categorically rejects any such accusation.
The novel coronavirus is a previously unknown virus. Determining its origin is a scientific issue that requires research by scientists and doctors. The conclusion must be based on facts and evidence. It is both irresponsible and immoral to play the blame game in an attempt to cover up one’s own shortcomings. China will never accept any frivolous lawsuits or compensation claims.
In the face of a virus that is spreading worldwide, China has offered help to other countries to the best of its ability. It is doing so out of the kindness of its people, the empathy they have with people of other countries suffering from the pandemic, the humanitarian spirit of helping each other amid disasters, and its sense of responsibility as a major country. China is not exporting its model, nor is it pursuing selfish geopolitical interests.
Building an efficient and sustainable global public health system for the benefit of all humanity.Human history is a history of grappling with viruses. There are multiple deficiencies in current global health governance, including the absence of an international mechanism for joint prevention and control of infectious diseases and a dire shortage of international public health resources. On top of these, the upsurge in deglobalization has rendered the global public health system even more vulnerable.
Humanity will prevail over the pandemic, but it will certainly not be the last major public health emergency we will encounter. China therefore calls on the international community to draw lessons from this pandemic, reflect carefully, and turn crises into opportunities. Countries should show extraordinary political vision and a strong sense of responsibility by doing the following:
• embrace a philosophy that puts life above everything else, regards the world as a whole, and stresses equality, mutual respect, cooperation and mutual assistance;
• establish sound mechanisms for international cooperation, including a long-term financing mechanism, a monitoring, early warning and joint response mechanism for threats to public health, and a mechanism for reserving and allocating resources;
• create an efficient, sustainable global public health system for all;
• fortify defenses for the lives and health of all; and
• build a global community of health for all.
China supports efforts to make a full, objective, impartial, scientific, and professional assessment of the global response once the pandemic has been brought under control. This will enable us to learn lessons and remedy weaknesses. China proposes that countries take immediate action and adopt decisive measures to minimize both the imminent and potential threats of the virus. This is in the interest of future generations and the wellbeing of all humanity.
As a responsible country, China stands for the vision of a global community of shared future, and has actively participated in and advanced international cooperation in public health. It will put into action the six proposals and five measures put forward by President Xi Jinping in his speech at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly, and contribute more to securing regional and international public health and building a global community of health for all.
The Chinese nation has never been driven down by adversity. The more daunting the challenge, the greater the courage it has mustered. Overcoming difficulties has helped China to grow stronger. Confronted by this virus, the Chinese people have joined together as one and united their efforts. They have succeeded in containing the spread of the virus. In this battle, China will always stand together with other countries.
Now, when the coronavirus is still spreading and causing devastation all over the world, the international community will have to face even greater difficulties and challenges. Preventing and controlling the spread of the virus has become a fight to safeguard global public health, to secure the wellbeing of humanity, to maintain world prosperity, and to enforce morality and conscience on the international community. It is a fight that will determine the future of the human race. We have no other choice but to overcome the pandemic. The international community must find resolve and forge unity. Solidarity means strength. The world will win this battle.
The pandemic will have a significant impact on the development of humanity, but the people’s longing for a happy life will remain unchanged. Peace, development, and win-win cooperation will prevail. The sun will always shine again after a storm. As long as the world’s peoples can cherish hopes and dreams, can embrace the idea of a global community of shared future, and can unite in pursuit of a common goal, we will be able to overcome all our current difficulties and challenges, and build a better world for all.
1. Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19), February 28, 2020.
2. The Lancet: “Sustaining Containment of COVID-19 in China”, April 18, 2020.
3. The Lancet: “Sustaining containment of COVID-19 in China”, April 18, 2020.
4.“China Focus: Xi Voices Full Confidence in Winning Battle against Novel Coronavirus”, Xinhuanet.com, January 28, 2020.
5. Press Conference of WHO-China Joint Mission on Covid-19, Beijing, February 24, 2020.