Xi: Army must play key role against virus
Redoubled efforts, better coordination of resources urged to prevent pandemic President Xi Jinping is calling on the People's Liberation Army to shoulder its responsibility and continue contributing to the country's uphill battle to control the recent novel coronavirus outbreak and prevent a pandemic.
Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, instructed the PLA about efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
In the instruction, which was published on Wednesday, Xi commended the military for resolutely carrying out the decision of the CPC Central Committee after the outbreak and promptly launching an epidemic prevention and control mechanism and dispatching elite forces to the front line of the battle against the virus.
The situation remains challenging and complex, and the PLA must keep in mind its purpose and respond to orders, he said.
He noted that the military has been assigned the task of medical treatment at Huoshenshan hospital, an emergency specialty hospital in Wuhan, Hubei province, which is under construction. That assignment indicates a high level of trust from the Party and the Chinese people, Xi said.
It is important for the military to step up its organizing and leadership functions, enable closer coordination with local authorities, adhere to the principles of scientific treatment and ensure self-protection, he said, adding that by doing so in this mission, it will live up to its high standard of trust and honor.
Military hospitals must make all-out efforts to accept and treat patients, and research institutions should press ahead with their research and development to contribute to victory against the outbreak, he said.
A meeting, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Wednesday, underlined the importance of targeted measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus nationwide.
The meeting of the central leading group on coping with the outbreak stressed the need to scale up the country's ability to treat patients in critical condition in cities around Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.
The country's top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, said on Wednesday in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that China attaches great importance to the safety of all foreigners in the country, including those from the United States, and will maintain close coordination and cooperation to prevent and control illnesses related to the coronavirus.
Despite heightened disease control and prevention efforts, the coronavirus continues to spread, and some areas will see a spike in the number of infected people, a statement released after the meeting said.
Maximum effort and scientific measures to curb the spread of the outbreak are needed, it said.
Epidemic control and prevention efforts in Wuhan and throughout Hubei province must be further bolstered so that medical resources can be better coordinated and refined to treat patients and reduce deaths, the statement said.
It also called for an effective and coordinated epidemic control and prevention mechanism between provincial-level areas.
Research and development of vaccines must be accelerated, and approvals and clinical use of pharmaceuticals that have already proved effective should be expedited, the statement said.
It also urged local authorities to get manufacturers of protective suits, surgical masks, safety goggles, negative pressure ambulances and drugs back in full production as soon as possible. Favorable tax policies and financing will be researched by the authorities, it said.
Some employers should allow staff who traveled away from places of higher risk of infection for the Spring Festival holiday, as well as people with non-critical jobs, to delay their return.
People at higher risk of infection, should stay at home for medical observation or be allowed to work from home, it added.