President Xi Jinping urges fast development of coronavirus vaccine
Editor: Chen Zhuo
Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Monday for the fast development of effective vaccine and treatment drugs for the novel coronavirus during an inspection tour of two major institutions currently researching COVID-19.
Technology is the major way to conquer the battle against the epidemic, President Xi pointed out as he learned about the progress on a potential vaccine and treatment options. "We need to command more core technologies with our own intellectual property," he stressed.
The coronavirus, first discovered in central China's Hubei Province last December, has infected nearly 90,000 people worldwide, over 80,100 of whom in China. There is currently no vaccine for the new coronavirus, although several are ready for tests.
The military as a major force in the COVID-19 battle
Since the outbreak, the Academy of Military Medical Sciences has firmly adhered to the instructions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Central Military Commission, President Xi noted, praising their hard work during this time.
This fully shows that our military is loyal to the Party and the people, he said.
Since early February, China has sent out over 10,000 military medics to the front lines of Hubei Province, the epicenter of the epidemic. Authorities confirmed on Monday that no military personnel has been infected so far.
Xi urged military medics, the major force in the battle, to develop effective vaccine, medicines and fast testing kits as soon as possible.
Monitoring network for major outbreaks needed
President Xi ordered the establishment of a monitoring network for major epidemics and stressed its importance in preventing public health crises for a country as populous as China.
He also called for coordination between front-line medics and researchers elsewhere. "There are two main task fronts in this battle," he said, "one is disease prevention on the front-line, another is research and medical supply."
Research into drugs and medical devices should happen along with clinical treatment as the priority is to save more patients, President Xi pointed out in a later symposium with Science and Technology Ministry officials at Tsinghua University.
Source of COVID-19 needs to be identified
The Chinese president stressed that the source of the pneumonia-like disease needs to be traced by utilizing the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data analysis to improve accuracy and efficiency during the curing process.
Scientists found earlier that bats are most likely the natural host for COVID-19, and pangolins the intermediate host. Both animals could be found in Hubei's Huanan Seafood Market, where the virus is believed to have originated from.
The consumption of wild animals must be abstained, President Xi noted.
Just days ago, China's top legislature had approved a decision to outlaw the trade of wild animals in direct response to the outbreak.
Mental health at this time needs to be taken seriously
Many mental health problems may arise during this time and we need to take that into serious consideration, President Xi said.
Chinese authorities have advised residents to stay indoors as much as possible, and the coronavirus epicenter Wuhan remains under lockdown.
We need to encourage a civilized, healthy and environmental-friendly lifestyle, the president said.
This is a challenge for us human beings as a whole, and it needs joint efforts from across the world, Xi noted. He also pledged to strengthen communication with the international community.
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