China pledges international pandemic aid

Producers of medical goods urged to meet demand from affected countries

China has pledged to do its best to offer aid to countries and international organizations affected by COVID-19 to help contain the outbreak, and businesses are being urged to boost production of epidemic prevention materials to meet demand from abroad.

The announcement was made at a meeting of the leading group of China’s coronavirus response, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday.

Relevant departments and local authorities must step up coordination to closely monitor and analyze the quick spread of the outbreak outside China and roll out more targeted measures to prevent the import and export of infection, the group said in a statement.

It is important to further promote coordinated control and prevention measures between countries and bolster efforts in areas such as data sharing, quarantine controls at ports and emergency response, the statement said.

The meeting called for capable businesses in China to boost production of materials for containing the outbreak and meet commercial demand from other countries while ensuring that domestic supply is guaranteed. It also required support from authorities as an important part of international cooperation to enable better coordination.

The group’s decision came as the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on Wednesday.

The group reckoned that key periodic outcomes have been achieved in containing the outbreak in Hubei province and Wuhan, the province’s capital and the outbreak’s epicenter.

Medical treatment must continue to be the top priority in the province and the city, with greater efforts to be made in treating patients in critical condition and containment measures inside communities, the statement said.

It urged authorities to use substitute medical workers to fill in for those who have gone without sufficient rest as soon as possible and to meticulously ensure the basic living standards of the public as well as access to healthcare for patients with other illnesses.

The meeting highlighted the need for regular visits to special groups placed in isolation to help solve their practical problems.

Local authorities must conduct thorough surveys of children who lost parents or guardians due to the epidemic and designate special caregivers for them, the statement said.

The government will set up a special program of psychological support. Patients, their family members and those who lost loved ones in Hubei and Wuhan will be the key target group of the program, it added.