Residents in cities across China are required to register with their ID cards when purchasing medicines for fever and cough in pharmacies, a move believed to be helpful in screening suspected patients infected with the novel coronavirus.
Hefei, capital of East China's Anhui Province, is one of the most recent cities to announce the move. From Sunday residents will have to buy medicines for fever and cough with a prescription from a medical institute and are asked to register their IDs, addresses, phone numbers and how many medicines they have bought, local government said.
Hefei authorities say it is mandatory for the registered information to be reported to local market supervision authorities and communities each day before 10 pm. Pharmacies will face punishment if they do not implement the measure.
Many other cities and provinces, including Guangdong, Fujian, Hebei and Jiangsu provinces, have adopted similar ID-registration regulations, in an attempt to follow suspected patients and health situations of communities.
In Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province, pharmacies have been banned from selling medicines for fever and cough starting from Saturday, which is seen to be the "toughest" measure a local government has taken to combat the spread of novel coronavirus.
Once residents show fever or cough symptoms, they are encouraged to see doctors in hospitals, the announcement from Hangzhou noted.
When residents in Shenyang, capital city of Northeast China's Liaoning Province, take subway, bus or taxi, they will also have to register their IDs and contact numbers by scanning a QR code.
Nearly 30,000 QR codes have been put up on public transportation systems, covering every taxi, bus and each carriage on a subway in the city. Passengers who refuse to register are not allowed to take public transportation, according to People's Daily.
"The fight against novel coronavirus is entering a 'key' period, a time when potentially infected people should be gradually revealed," Zhou Zijun, a professor at the Peking University School of Public Health, told the Global Times on Sunday. The incubation period of the virus is 14 days, experts noted.
Registering ID cards and contact details will help local governments trace and locate potential patients in a short time, preventing further spread between communities, Zhou said.