China: Lessons from experience


COVID-19 has not only posed a huge threat to the World community & specially first of all Chinese people’s safety and health, but also a major challenge to the global public health security. There had been no newly confirmed indigenous cases in China outside Wuhan for several days. At the same time, imported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in China surpassed the newly confirmed indigenous cases as the daily reports said. In the next stage, China’s main task is to rein in the imported cases and defend themselves from cross-border infection.
China will update the response measures to prevent the resurgence of the epidemic. As new COVID-19 cases skyrocketed in other countries, China’s experience in fighting the epidemic will offer lessons and clues for the rest of the world to contain COVID-19. In this regard, China’s experience can be distilled in 10 words/phrases: speed, strength, transparency, responsibility, coordination, overall planning, technology, balance, cooperation, and timely correction.
Speed: Rapid response: COVID-19 is a very special virus. China’s experience in combating COVID-19 shows that it is possible to control the epidemic if effective measures are taken as early as possible. Such measures made the “Four Earlies” possible, as they encouraged patients to seek treatment as early as possible like on January 23, Guangdong province initiated a first-level public health emergency response, with a suspension of public places, allowed every single patient to receive timely treatment in hospitals.
Strength: Intensified measures. Infection prevention, control and patient treatment require both speed and strength. China showed super strong determination to block the transmission of COVID-19. The Chinese governments at all levels and all communities worked hard to fully implement joint prevention and control measures. China adopted region-specific and multi-level targeted approaches based on an accurate understanding of China’s Response Measures based on virus and precise evaluation of risks.
Transparency. As the COVID-19 pandemic threats every person and every country, real-time information sharing is a must for both China and the international community. Transparent information disclosure can never be overemphasized during the war against COVID-19. Committed openness and transparency, the Chinese government has released trustworthy epidemic-related information in a timely manner without reservation. China has shared its experience in epidemic containment and patient treatment, and responded openly to concerns at home and abroad. As a result, China has avoided public panic and put down rumors and misinformation, and succeeding in communicating the progress in epidemic prevention and control.
Responsibility. China demonstrated strong courage and a sense of responsibility to fight COVID-19 as an enemy. If we compare epidemic response to a “war”, it is considered to be the people’s war. WHO encouraged every person, especially every leader at any level and from any sector to stand in solidarity and seize every single opportunity to prevent, contain, curb, delay and reduce the impact of the virus. It is a collective commitment to the humankind. UN Secretary-General AntónioGuterres delivered a speech saying “we must declare war on this virus” and calling on governments to cooperate in order to “ensure targeted support for the people and communities most affected by the disease.” As the first country to move, in fact, China had already mobilized its governments at all levels, all its communities and people to kick out the virus. No one was alone in the combat. Every single member of the society from governments to citizens and from medical system to other industries were actively involved in this fight by playing different roles in preventing infection and treating the disease. All Chinese people were united in the battle.
Coordination. China demonstrated a strong ability to organize a full-scale battle against the COVID-19 virus. Epidemic response requires the systematic and complex efforts of the health sector and the entire society. Efficient and flexible coordination played an indispensable role in combating the virus and made quick and effective response possible. Efficient coordination enhanced preparedness, enabling the medical system to handle the outbreak in a timely, effective and composed manner. Good coordination means the number of cases were well controlled to avoid shortage of medical resources for severe cases whereas infection rate and number were reduced through effective quarantine. This helped a lot to block off the source of infection through monitoring and screening.
Overall Planning. The epidemic outbreak tested and proved the power of the Chinese tradition of overall planning. An outbreak on this scale would surely rock the economy and society. History shows that a severe epidemic or disaster could lead to economic downturn and social disorder which in turn worsens the situation. No country would like to be trapped in such a vicious circle, and China is no exception.
Science and technology.
China has taken a scientific approach towards COVID-19 outbreak. Science and technology remained the most powerful weapons against the epidemic as quoted by President Xi. Without this approach the fight could have been blind. On the other hand, a warrior well equipped with scientific tools and techniques has a much higher chance of victory. After the outbreak, Chinese researchers identified the whole genome sequence of COVID-19 in less than a week and isolated the strain of the coronavirus, and the findings were immediately made public to the world.
Balance. Technology can’t do everything automatically to fight this pandemic so non-technological measures must play their roles. There is no specific drug or vaccine available as yet but China has effectively contained the epidemic by embracing non-technological means. Some people in other countries considered China’s epidemic response measures as “over-reactive” whereas some even questioned China’s political system.
Cooperation. Virus knows no borders. Victory over COVID-19 is of utmost significance to the safety and health of not only the Chinese people but also people around the world. While fighting a hard battle against the virus, China received countless condolences and support as well as large amount of supplies from many countries. Since the very beginning of the outbreak, China has highly valued international cooperation on public health and provided timely information updates to WHO and the global community and shared the genome sequence of the coronavirus in an open and transparent manner.
Timely remedy. China has a huge population of 1.4 billion, so it is essential to stay alert to and prepared for any major epidemic and public health emergency. As President Xi Jinping said, the epidemic was a big test for China’s governance system and capacity. He called on the people to learn from past mistakes and continue to improve. Considering that WHO has declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, China had met with difficulties and showed shortcomings in the earlier days of the outbreak, while other countries were not well prepared either even after China made some progress in fighting the virus. In short, every country has weaknesses and problems in their epidemic response. China’s problems include formalism and bureaucracy which hindered some epidemic prevention and control efforts. China was serious about these weaknesses and has taken quick remedial adjustments and corrective measures and has planned to take even more remedial actions after the outbreak is over.
The world has seen that the government and the people of China didn’t panicked or taken delayed decisions instead they shown their resilience in this course of pandemic. Chinese noble struggle against the deadly novel corona virus was appreciated and acknowledged by the world which clearly reflects that how they act in this hour of distress. They gave weight age to their medical experts’ opinions and proved that apart from being self sufficient in resources, nations can also be recognized by their self determination, upright consciousness, display of unwavering discipline and collective sense of responsibility.