Medical workers wait to submit COVID-19 samples for nucleic acid test at the center for disease control and prevention in Fengman District of Jilin City, northeast China's Jilin Province, May 17, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
China has effectively contained the COVID-19 pandemic in three months, and now is time to look at how the Chinese society fights together against this public health crisis. Recently, articles published on the Bangkok Post analyzed how China was able to fight the coronavirus with high efficiency and effectiveness.
The epidemic was considered a major public health emergency, requiring a wide range of strong prevention and control measures.
Millions of Chinese medical workers fought on the front line in the battle against COVID-19, risking their lives to save many others. They are the ones who brought light and hope to the nation at a dark time. Over the past months, China has shared technical documents on treatment protocols and containment strategies with a total of 180 countries and over 10 international and regional organizations.
According to Sun Xi, scholar from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, there were three key pillars underpinning its success: strong leadership, a comprehensive mechanism, and broad support.
First, strong leadership ensured the right direction and strategy in fighting coronavirus. Although some may not be willing to admit it, there is no doubt that there was strong leadership from the Communist Party of China (CPC). Premier Li Keqiang was appointed to head the Leading Group of the CPC Central Committee on the Response to the virus outbreak. In times of the unexpected COVID-19 outbreak, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has maintained its grasp over the situation while taking decisive actions. More than 4.6 million grassroots Party organisations led the fight on the ground across the country.
Second, a comprehensive mechanism could fully cope with the COVID-19 crisis. Public health emergency is not only a serious health issue, but also "a complex economic, social, and political problem," which needs systematic responses. In January, China set up the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council (JPCMSC) at the central government level, consisting of 32 agencies and covering disease prevention and control, scientific research, publicity, foreign affairs, logistics support, and frontline work. The total number of confirmed cases stands at 85,297 and the death toll at 4,634 on the Chinese mainland, while 391 asymptomatic patients are under medical observation.
Third, the broad support was crucial to battle against COVID-19. This is "people's war" and everybody plays a role in China. Mask-wearing, social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantine are effective ways to reduce the spread. However, those practices need individual discipline and full obedience.
With the understanding and cooperation of 1.4 billion Chinese people, the Chinese government was able to implement the most comprehensive prevention and control measures to battle the epidemic. By contrast, as Sun Xi suggested, many Western countries have been facing policy failures as their residents are not so supportive.
From the chaotic panic to the comprehensive response and systematic recovery, China has demonstrated its remarkable resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, and self-reliance. "The pain is global," said Li Xiaoyun, lead chair professor at China Agricultural University. From the chaotic panic to the comprehensive response and systematic recovery, China has demonstrated its remarkable resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, and self-reliance.