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Wednesday, January 29, 2020, 12:44
Visit by Li gives Wuhan morale boost
By Xu Wei
Wednesday, January 29, 2020, 12:44 By Xu Wei

Premier encourages medical workers and reassures residents about supplies

Premier Li Keqiang talks with doctors at a hospital in Wuhan, Hubei province, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, during an inspection tour on Jan 27, 2020. (PHOTO / CHINA NEWS SERVICE)

Premier Li Keqiang has offered medical workers and residents battling the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province, a morale boost, pledging the nation's all-out support to the epicenter of the outbreak.

Li, who heads a leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on dealing with the outbreak, visited front-line responders in Wuhan on Monday and commended them for working day and night to save the lives of patients with pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.

The people of Wuhan thanked the medical workers, and so did the people of the whole country, he said at the Jinyintan hospital, which has the largest number of infected patients and those in critical condition in Wuhan.

He encouraged the workers to forge ahead and seize every minute in the pressing task of saving the infected during a critical period for epidemic prevention and control.

After learning of an even starker shortage of nurses in the city than doctors, Li called on government departments to take immediate action to send more nurses with professional experience to Wuhan.

The government will make meeting the demand for medical workers in the city a priority so that all doctors and nurses can work in shifts and take enough rest, he said.

He told the workers to ensure they protected themselves during the treatment process, which would give their patients more hope and the whole nation more confidence and a greater sense of security.

"Please make sure that you can call home every day just to say you are safe, and to ease their worries," he said.

Li also sought to boost the morale of workers on the construction site for Huoshenshan hospital, a special emergency facility being built in response to the outbreak.

He asked the manager of the project about the difficulties being faced and materials that were still lacking, saying that meeting those requests would be the government's priority.

"You are in a race against time and saving lives from a severe illness," he told the workers.

He encouraged them to make every minute count and ensure the completion of the project with high quality and at an early date, so that it can become a refuge that can curb the spread of the outbreak.

The central government's heightened support to Hubei is also evident in its decision to have Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan, who is in charge of healthcare in the State Council, head a special work group to guide epidemic control and prevention in the province.

Sun presided over a meeting on her arrival in Wuhan on Monday, calling for all-out measures to control the number of new infections and reduce the mortality rate.

The novel coronavirus must be dealt with on a wartime footing, she said.

She urged quicker progress in analyzing the epidemic and for data on the outbreak to be made public in a more timely and accurate manner.

More work must be done to respond to public concerns, win public trust and shore up confidence with greater transparency, she said.

The work group has visited hospitals in Wuhan to learn about the epidemic control situation and the treatment of patients. It has also visited factories in Hubei to find ways to boost production of urgently needed masks and protective suits.

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