WHO calls China’s antivirus effort ‘aggressive, agile’

BEIJING: While the substantial recent slowdown in the spread of novel coronavirus in China is real, and it is now reasonable to restore work activities step by step, health experts warned that risks abound of the virus flaring up again and they cautioned against complacency, the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 said at a news conference after its one-week field investigations in China.

“Ambitious, agile and aggressive” control measures taken by China to control the novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic, bolstered by nationwide solidarity and advanced scientific research, have altered the curve of the outbreak for the better, averted a large number of potential cases and offered experience in improving the global response to the disease, the joint team of Chinese and World Health Organization health officials said.
Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the director-general of the WHO and head of the foreign expert panel, said measures such as mass isolation, shutting down transportation and mobilizing the public to abide by hygienic practices have proved effective in curbing a contagious and mysterious disease, especially when the whole of society is committed to the measures.
“This approach of all-of-government and all-of-society is very old-fashioned and has averted and probably prevented at least tens of thousands even hundreds of thousands, of cases,” he said. “It is extraordinary.”
Aylward said he recalled from the trip in China one particularly striking fact: In Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak and under a severe medical strain, hospitals beds are opening up and medical institutions have the capacity and space to receive and care for all patients for the first time in the outbreak.
“To the people of Wuhan, it is recognized that the world is in your debt. When this disease finishes, hopefully we will have a chance to thank the people of Wuhan for the role they have played,” he said. With the emergence of clusters of infection in foreign countries, Aylward said, strategies adopted by China can be implemented in other continents, including promptly locating and quarantining close contacts, suspending public gatherings and stepping up basic health measures such as washing hands regularly.
– The Daily Mail-China Daily News exchange item