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Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 11:54
Li: More asymptomatic screening needed
By Xu Wei
Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 11:54 By Xu Wei

A researcher does a nucleic acid test at the KingMed Diagnostics, a company commissioned to do coronavirus infection test in Wuhan, on March 2, 2020. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

China will scale up screening of asymptomatic patients of COVID-19 and expand testing to close contacts of infected patients in an effort to prevent a possible domestic rebound of the outbreak, according to a decision made at a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Monday.

The meeting of the leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on coping with the novel coronavirus pneumonia underlined the importance of prioritizing the monitoring, tracking, isolation and treatment of asymptomatic cases to consolidate the country's epidemic containment efforts.

The meeting of the leading group of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on coping with the novel coronavirus pneumonia underlined the importance of prioritizing the monitoring, tracking, isolation and treatment of asymptomatic cases to consolidate the country's epidemic containment efforts

Asymptomatic cases, after testing positive, must be placed in isolation and undergo medical observation, the group said, adding that authorities must disseminate public information in a transparent manner and avoid underreporting or delaying reports of confirmed cases.

READ MORE: Beijing, Shanghai tighten inbound travel restrictions

It is important to determine the source of infection as soon as possible in individual cases and launch isolation and medical observation procedures for close contacts, the group said.

It required accelerated steps to gather a certain percentage of samples from asymptomatic cases in hard-hit areas for research and epidemiological analysis-a prerequisite for improving containment measures.

The meeting also called for re-examination of patients after they have been discharged, and stronger medical management for recovered patients who once again test positive.

With the contagion now spreading worldwide and the fact that no country is capable of confronting the virus alone, the group highlighted the need for a sober mindset and full recognition of the risks, pressures and challenges facing countries in epidemic control and prevention efforts.

Authorities must ensure the proper treatment of patients in severe condition, provide isolation and follow-up visits for recovered patients, enhance the monitoring of relevant cases at fever clinics and improve reporting of new outbreaks, said the statement.

The group urged stronger efforts in preventing the importation and exportation of COVID-19 cases, saying that authorities must bolster testing capacity and facilities so that all inbound personnel can receive nucleic acid testing.

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China's diplomatic missions overseas and relevant departments must step up protection, guidance and material support for Chinese citizens to safeguard their health and safety, the group added.

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