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Global Times

Epidemic control in Beijing tops central govt's virus battle

Global Times

By Chen Qingqing, Xu Keyue and Liu Xuanzun Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/27 20:08:41

Beijing is facing mounting pressure in efforts to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) as new confirmed infections surged due to arrivals from abroad and cluster outbreaks.

Officials from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) confirmed Thursday that the central government put the capital on top priority of its epidemic prevention and control work, with measures benchmarking those adopted in epicenter Hubei and execution even more rigorous and decisive.

Prevention criterion in Beijing is different from other areas, Zeng Guang, chief epidemiologist at China CDC, told the Global Times on Thursday.

As the Chinese capital, Beijing has a dense population and high individual mobility. In addition it is the national medical center, serving patients from all over the country, and it is home to the most schools and other educational institutions and has a complex personnel system as the peak to resume work begins, Zeng said.

All these factors contribute to a high risk of an outbreak occurring in Beijing, which requires close attention and vigorous, decisive measures to prevent and control the virus spread, Zeng noted.

Also, embassies are heavily concentrated in Beijing and the city has the largest number of flight routes in the country, therefore the city remains a top priority in combating the disease and preventing the virus from spreading globally, Zeng said.

Chinese top leaders urged efforts in containing the virus spread in the capital, which is equally important as safeguarding the epicenter Wuhan, as its stability and safety is directly relevant to the overall work of the central government.

"Epidemic control work in Beijing is most critical. Although the current situation in the capital is not as severe as in Hubei, by referencing the measures taken there, the steps taken in Beijing are much more decisive than in other cities," Zeng said.

Zeng also warned the public to be more cautious of the potential risks of the resurgence of new infections as Beijing reported 10 new cases of COVID-19 infection on Wednesday after days of reporting no new cases.

As of the end of Wednesday, Beijing recorded in total 410 confirmed cases along with five deaths, and 2,658 persons with close contact with infected patients.

In an effort to better combat the disease, a subdistrict official in southern Beijing told the Global Times on Thursday that "Our focus is the management of those who return to Beijing. To prevent the virus spreading, these people must quarantine themselves at home for 14 days. At the same time, we also go all lengths to manage the communities, as we issued different permits to each resident depending on if he or she is a permanent resident, a tenant or a temporary resident."

"We keep in close contact with those who left Beijing during the extended Spring Festival holiday and have yet to return to know their situation, and also supervise buildings and companies on work resumption," the official said.

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