Shanghai at crucial phase in virus fight

Yang Meiping
City authorities say that more challenges are being brought about with more and more people returning to their homes after the end of the extended holiday break. 
Yang Meiping

Shanghai is now at a crucial phase in the novel coronavirus fight with more challenges brought by the increasing number of people returning to the city, authorities said at a press conference on Monday.

Gu Honghui, the city government's deputy secretary general, said checks had been enhanced at airports, railway stations, roads and waterways; neighborhood committees, police and community health centers have intensified investigations to find people from key affected areas and carry out quarantine measures; 110 fever clinics and hospitals have been designated to make all-out efforts to screen for infections and treat patients.

He said all these efforts had helped restrain spread of the virus.

He urged staff at checkpoints on roads leading into the city to carry out stricter inspections and neighborhood committees to further improve management at communities and carry out more careful investigations as more people returned to Shanghai after the holiday.

He said people coming into Shanghai from key areas affected by the novel coronavirus should stay in quarantine for 14 days. Refusing quarantine is illegal and would be punished by police, he said.

Gu said an epidemiological investigation team had surveyed 1,580 infections and traced 5,254 close contacts by Sunday, of whom 87 had been diagnosed with infection, 3,237 had been discharged from quarantine and 1,930 are still under isolated observation.

By Sunday, 98,137 people in Shanghai had been put in quarantine at home or designated places, with 50,496 already discharged.

He urged people returning to the city to report their health condition to their employers and neighborhood committees, check their temperature every day and seek treatment if they develop a fever.

Enterprises are also asked to enhance management after resuming work, disinfecting factories, industrial zones and office buildings regularly, making proper arrangements for working and eating and checking the health of employees.

Gu said families and individuals should participate in or support epidemic control by protecting themselves.

Zhu Qinhao, director of Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau, explained specific guidelines for home quarantine.

He said those in quarantine should stay in a room with good ventilation and keep the door closed. It’s not necessary for the quarantined people to wear face masks when they are alone in isolated rooms. But when they need to leave the room, wearing masks and disinfecting hands are required.

Those in quarantine should also reduce contact with other family members and when they have to communicate, they should stay at least one meter apart.

Central air-conditioners should be turned off. Quarantined people are asked to use daily household items separately from other family members to avoid cross-infection and if they need to share facilities such as toilets, the surfaces should be disinfected every time they are used. Items used by people in quarantine should be disinfected and their waste, such as used tissues and masks, should be put in special bags in bins with lids.

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