Amid the rapid global outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a couple of Chinese experts gathered Monday for a video press briefing to share with the world the lessons from battling the epidemic.
Members of a national medical team sent to the hard-hit city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, from Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) Hospital underlined early-stage action to counter the disease.
PREVENTION AND CONTROL PRIMARY
Preventing and controlling is the most important thing in the battle, as treatment is only secondary, while prevention and control have primary effects, said Du Bin, medical ICU director of the hospital.
"You must have plans, and failure to prepare is preparedness for failure," he noted, saying that even now, with fewer newly reported cases in Wuhan, they should stay alert.
When asked about specific measures of prevention and control, Du simply stressed "test, test and test."
"Apart from testing, I have no idea how you can identify suspected cases and how to quarantine close contacts," he said, adding that the turning point of the epidemic outbreak in Wuhan only came when all suspected patients and close contacts were isolated.
BETTER CARE FOR MEDICAL STAFF
Yan Xiaowei, an internal medicine expert with the PUMC Hospital, highlighted the importance of taking good care of medical workers as it is the precondition for offering good care to patients and protecting their colleagues and family members.
Further public education on prevention such as washing hands and wearing face masks should also be carried out, without which COVID-19 would overwhelm the healthcare facilities, Yan said.
His words were echoed by Wu Dong, associate professor of gastroenterology at PUMC Hospital, who asked the public to take their necessary actions seriously, change their behaviors and be responsible.
Moreover, Wu said that he knew first-hand that the environment in the ICU could be very stressful during the epidemic, and losing patients could easily damage the morale of the ICU staff.
"Rest and relaxing are very important, and you need to take very good care of yourselves," Wu told his overseas counterparts.
HUMANITY AND LOVE
"Although this is a chance for my colleagues and me to share our experience with the international community, the Chinese approach to control the epidemic may not be the only one," Du said.
For instance, they were learning from the experience of countries like Singapore and Japan, he continued, as with different numbers of cases and community support systems, countries can adopt different approaches that achieve similar success in controlling the epidemic.
"It is an opportunity for us to learn from each other, just like what is true with traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine," Du said. "The beauty of the world lies in diversity, not identity."
Wu said his motive for joining the battle against COVID-19 on the front line was not just about professionalism or responsibility, but also about love.
"Human beings are mortal, but love is not, and I love my daughter, my patients, my country and mankind," he said.
"As humans, we're all in this together, and we will get through this together," Wu said.