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Global Times

All Wuhan patients discharged

Global Times

By Zhao Yusha in Wuhan Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/26 23:10:25

'Long-term positive cases' should be closely observed

All COVID-19 patients in Wuhan's hospitals were cured as of Sunday, said China's national top health authority, an achievement that has been hailed by Wuhan doctors and residents as a milestone in the city's hard-fought battle against the coronavirus, and a sign that the city is returning to normal at an unparalleled speed.

The good news was delivered by Mi Feng, a spokesperson for the National Health Commission (NHC), at a Sunday conference.

The number of COVID-19 patients in serious condition in Wuhan, Central China's Province, has been brought down to zero, Mi said on Friday.

The last group of patients discharged were those with underlying diseases, which made their treatment more difficult than for other patients, Peng Zhiyong, director of the intensive care unit of the Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Friday.

Surnamed Ding, the last patient discharged was a 77-year-old man treated at Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital.

Zhu Qi, a doctor at the hospital, told the Global Times that after Ding's symptoms disappeared in early March, doctors conducted nucleic acid tests on him every three to five days, but even after more than 10 tests, the result was still positive.

The patient was finally released following twice results of negative on Friday and Sunday.

Also released with Ding, a 31-year-old man surnamed Liu told the Global Times that after more than 70 days of treatment, he feels "the air outside the hospital is sweet."

"Thanks to my country for saving my life," he said.

Many Wuhan doctors believed this achievement signals a decisive victory in the city's battle against the coronavirus.

"Maybe it won't be long before Wuhan people can take off their masks," said a doctor surnamed Zheng.

The last patient in serious condition in Wuhan was declared cured on Friday, reducing the number of such patients in the city to zero, said Mi at a press conference in Beijing.

However, Peng and other Wuhan doctors told the Global Times that this doesn't mean the pressure on medical workers will be greatly eased in the near future.

"We are now focusing on screening of asymptomatic patients, and we are doing nucleic acid test for every patient admitted to our hospital, in order to prevent the further spread of the virus in Wuhan hospitals," said Peng.

Jinyintan Hospital, an infectious disease hospital and one of the earliest battlefields against the coronavirus, discharged all its patients and started disinfection work on Sunday. The hallways were silent in mild sunshine and the hospital will accept patients again after the disinfection is completed.

Hospital President Zhang Dingyu told the Global Times that a zone will be preserved to treat COVID-19 patients, since sporadic cases may occur in the future. Some experts said that it is necessary to be prepared for possible cases where people retest positive. There may be many "long-term positive patients", based on experience, they said.

Yuan Xiaodong, a Beijing-based infectious disease expert who has aided Wuhan, told Chinanews.com that patients discharged from the hospital should be closely observed to see if there is any live virus in their bodies. If there are fragments of dead virus, it is not infectious.

"This is the good news I've been waiting for since February, and if more countries report such good news, the whole world will be able to announce a victory in fighting the virus and get back to normal," said Chen Xu, a Wuhan resident.

Seeing this good news, many Wuhan residents said the figure of zero did not come easily – it was achieved with medical workers' arduous contributions, Wuhan people's sacrifices, and persistence and nationwide support.

"I will cook pork soup for dinner to celebrate the good news," said a net user on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. Pork soup with lotus root is a typical dish in Wuhan.

According to the Wuhan health commission, the city recorded 20 new silent carriers of the virus on Friday, with 535 suspected patients under medical observation.

Mi stressed that the next step for Wuhan is to prevent domestic and imported infections, and resume normal medical services to meet Wuhan's patients' needs.

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