In the past few months, a certain pandemic has been ravaging countries which broke out first in Wuhan city, Hubei Province of China. Though we may not be very clear on the virus source(s) yet, we can take home some lessons for our personal lives, families and countries.
1. Lockdown in 3 days. The human–human transmission of covid19 viral infection became evident within the period of the Chinese new year. It was at this time that Wuhan, a 14 million people city in Hubei province, where the virus was known to have originated, was shut down. Keep in mind that the Chinese New Year is the time of the world’s largest annual human migration (chūnyùn 春运）with estimation of 3 billion trips to be made that month as a large number of people return home to celebrate the New Year with their loved ones. Imagine what would have happened if China had not made that decision. It would have been more disastrous if there were an extended delay. No one knows what the consequences would have looked like.
2. The emergency hospital in ten days. This is one of the controversial points as to how come China was ready for the outbreak but we are here for the lessons. The speed employed in assembling a hospital of 1000 beds and 30 Intensive Care Units (ICU) was breathtaking. With hospitals in Wuhan flooded with patients and amid surging numbers of new infections, there is only one option available and that is to build more hospitals and mobilize military and medical professionals from all over the country to help build and operate the hospital.
3. Strict quarantine for 14 days. If you have had contact with people from Hubei province, or have self-traveled out of the city, or you share a room with people who has traveled out of the city, people who have traveled from Hubei Province, or your body temp is above 37.3 degree Celsius, have people nearby who are infected by the covid19, you will be quarantined for 14 days. It’s for 14 days because that is the exact incubation period for the covid19 according to the scientists. Report any case.
4. Control of daily activities. Movie theaters and bars and restaurants were shut down, but few convenience stores and super markets were open with specific measures in place. Wearing a face mask remained a must, and you also cannot set foot inside an enclosed public space without having your body temperature taken at the door. In certain neighborhoods, residents had to fill out forms with information of places they have been to, and visited, the public transports they’ve taken, people they’ve dealt with.
5. Working and studying from home. To reduce the heavy effect on the country’s economy, people weren’t just sitting at home, they worked from home. At this time also, China plunged into online learning which became a compulsory alternative to continue education during the pandemic. The online-based classes presents the universities in China the flexibility necessary to contain the virus spread and maintain an uninterrupted academic semester.
6. Strict implementation of wearing face masks. Even though it became scarce and very expensive, there was strict enforcement that everyone who necessarily needs to step out of his or her home must wear a face mask. There were cases where individuals were arrested for walking the streets for not wearing masks. There were cases when individuals who are not wearing the masks or wearing them rightly were called out using monitoring drones or by traffic directors. This was a good way of impressing the importance that all residents in China take responsibility for themselves.
7. Sensitization. And awareness was key to the spread of the right information to the residents in China. Most streets have banners and posts reminding individuals to wash their hands, use sanitizers, wear face masks, avoid crowds, avoid touching their faces, report self or suspected cases to designated offices or dial certain hotlines. Some neighborhoods hung loudspeakers with voice records reminding everyone what to do and not do.
The schools are not left out either. International students’ movements were highly restricted to going out to make purchases once a week. Several schools employed help to assist in making the purchases for their students. There were regular notices from the schools to the students to keep them abreast of relevant information. Students who traveled out of the school areas or outside the country were ordered to remain at the place where they went to or seek approved permission, to ensure pre-arrangements for their quarantine, before returning. In most cases, they were not permitted to return and non-compliance were severely punished.
Provisions were made for mental and psychological therapy and as the pandemic reduces, the assistance of volunteers from foreign students was employed. These were aimed at helping the students to remain sane and active through the pandemic.
Every country responds differently and every step to be taken should be calculated. During this emergency, China chose urgency and carefulness.
Speed was a top priority.
Everything China did, it did with minimal time for maximal effects. Speed was and is the most important in this prevention work/campaign because lives are too precious to lose.
Source: CGTN; Personal experience