WUHAN, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, is combing communities to ensure every confirmed or suspected patient is located and attended to as a senior official vowed to nail any official deserter "to history's pillar of shame."
A conference on epidemic control on Thursday ordered the megacity with a population of over 10 million to make all-out efforts to locate patients confirmed or suspected to be infected with the virus, close contacts of confirmed cases, as well as patients with fever.
Once identified, these people must be treated in a timely manner or placed in quarantine, the conference said, adding that "no family or individual shall be neglected."
City officials said checkpoints are being set up outside every community and apartment building to measure residents' body temperatures, while community workers and volunteers are paying house-to-house visits to conduct checks.
Fever patients found in the process will be escorted to community clinics, which will decide whether they should be quarantined at home or be sent to other isolation areas. Police will step in if a patient refuses to obey quarantine rules and all persuasion fails, officials said.
The citywide mobilization echoed the call of Chinese Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who on Thursday stressed that the various prevention and control measures must be implemented in detail like in wartime.
While inspecting Jianghan District in Wuhan, Sun demanded officials at all levels prioritize the epidemic fight "as the most important and pressing task" and forego bureaucratism and practices of formalities for formalities' sake.
Any deserter in the fight will be forever nailed to history's pillar of shame, she said.
Over 20,000 residents are observing at-home quarantine in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province, which has been sealed off since late January to contain the spread of the 2019-nCov.
The city has since grabbed the nation's headlines with the heroism of its medical workers and the great sacrifice and resignation of local residents during the unprecedented lockdown.
Community workers interviewed by Xinhua said in response to some residents' fears of transmission during home visits, they are also using telephones and instant messaging apps like WeChat to contact local families.
"Our neighborhood committee held an emergency meeting on Thursday evening and demanded that we do a 'blanket search' to know about the condition of each and every family," said Zhu Xuan, a community worker in the Chang'er Community in Jianghan District.
Tasked with more than 100 households, Zhu posted a questionnaire in a WeChat group, and residents completed it with their daily body temperature reports. Meanwhile, she has been making phone calls since Friday morning to contact elderly residents who are may not use the mobile app.
"Residents have all responded to our work with great understanding and cooperation," Zhu said.
Liu Jie, who lives in Wuhan's Dongxihu District, said he initially frowned upon the visits by inspectors, as they will cost the six-member family many disposable facial masks, which have been in tight supply in many Chinese cities since the virus outbreak.
"Then they assured us that we could report via WeChat or telephone and that made us feel relieved," he said.
Liu has not left his community since Jan. 22, faithfully obeying the official instruction to stay at home to reduce infection risks. The community's property management company has offered to purchase vegetables and other daily necessities for the residents and deliver them to their doorsteps.
"The furthest place I've been in the past weeks is the dust bin at the doorstep," Liu said. "We understand that it is imperative for the city to quarantine all confirmed and suspected patients. And we know it's important to fulfill our own duties, like daily reports of fever."