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CPPCC National Committee members reflect on what should be learned from COVID-19 outbreak

Updated: 2020-06-29 chinadaily.com.cn


With the joint effort of the Chinese people to curb the spread of the COVID-19, the situation in China has greatly improved with enterprises starting to resume their work and production. In this episode of CPPCC Topical Issues, members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) focused on issues ranging from the source of the novel coronavirus and wildlife protection to protection measures against the virus and how to improve the country's public health emergency response system. The following is a summary of their viewpoints.

Fang Laiying, former Party secretary of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning and a member of the 13th National Committee of the CPPCC 

With regard to the source of the virus, Fang said that the determination of the intermediary hosts will not only contribute to the scientific research on the virus but also prompt human beings to adjust their relationship with nature.

When it comes to wildlife protection, he pointed out the ban on eating wild animals doesn't mean that these animals can't be explored and utilized. He stressed that wildlife protection is required even in the process of developing traditional Chinese medicinal materials so as to prevent animal abuse. He also gave examples to illustrate how the development of modern technology has provided humans with substitutes for some wild animals during the development of traditional Chinese medicine. He concluded that wildlife protection relies not only on changes to people's eating habits but also on scientific progress. 

As for strategies for epidemic control, Fang put forward the three principles of taking scientific measures, mobilizing all of society, and adopting differentiated measures for different regions at different stages. The goal is to prevent outbreaks, he said.

He stressed that we should rely on our own efforts rather than rising temperatures to defeat the virus.

He also emphasized that the COVID-19 outbreak reminds us of the importance of building up our public health system which is focused on the prevention of infectious diseases.

Zhang Dexing, deputy head of the Beijing Institute of Genomics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a member of the 13th National Committee of the CPPCC 

Zhang pointed out that the determination of the source of the virus will help us not only prevent similar outbreaks in the first place but also figure out how long the virus has lurked within human bodies before the outbreak.

He said that the COVID-19 outbreak tells us that we must change some of our habits that intrude upon wildlife's living space and respect wild animals.

He pointed out that the outbreak reminds us of the importance of developing new habits such as wearing face masks and using serving chop sticks.

He cautioned that since adaptabilities of different types of coronaviruses to the natural environment vary wildly, it is unwise to count on warmer temperatures to control the outbreak.

Sun Chengye, a researcher at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and a member of the 13th National Committee of the CPPCC

Sun said that we must take the long view in advancing legislation on wildlife protection so as to build a harmonious relationship between human beings and wild animals.

He pointed out that one of the lessons we drew from the SARS outbreak in 2003 is that gauze-made face masks can't prevent people from being infected. Therefore, we are using masks made up of polypropylene in the battle against COVID-19, which reflects the progress in our knowledge about infectious disease prevention.

He noted that the Chinese standards for medical masks were developed based on the ways the COVID-19 can be transmitted. He suggested that Individuals take precautionary measures based on their surrounding environment and ongoing activities.

He pointed out that thanks to their unique ventilation system, airplanes tend to be safer than other vehicles in terms of infectious disease prevention.

He said the COVID-19 outbreak has prompted people to pay attention to breathing-related protocols such as wearing masks and sneezing in a safer way, which will bring about progress in civilization.

He said he believes that the battle against COVID-19 will also help to improve China's public health emergency system.

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