China will expand its coverage of affordable and convenient flu
vaccinations and strengthen its contagious disease monitoring system as
it enters the flu season, health officials said on Tuesday.
The State Council Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism released a
work plan on Tuesday that guides efforts to control this year's flu
season, requiring local authorities to lower vaccine prices for key
groups－which include medical workers, children, the elderly and those
with chronic diseases－increase the number of flu vaccination sites and
lengthen their operating hours.
"We underscored in particular that vaccinating medical workers will
be prioritized so as to reduce the risk of them transmitting the
influenza virus to patients and ensure the smooth provision of services
at hospitals," Wu Liangyou, deputy director of the National Health
Commission's Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, said at a news
conference on Tuesday.
Drawing from lessons learned in the fight against COVID-19, Wu added
that multiple channels, including direct online reporting and reports
from hospitals and media, will be used to help officials detect new flu
outbreaks in a more accurate and timely manner.
"Both influenza and the novel coronavirus are dangerous respiratory
illnesses that require similar containment strategies. The plan has thus
called for implementing coordinated efforts to control them
simultaneously," he said.
The work plan emphasized that demand for flu shots will be carefully
evaluated and purchases, supply, transport and distribution will be
closely monitored. Local medical institutions should also stock
sufficient medicines and related materials in advance.
During the flu season, large indoor gatherings will be reduced or
halted, it said, adding that health monitoring in key venues, including
schools and nursing homes, will be stepped up.
Meanwhile, Wu said, it is vital to keep practicing basic hygiene by
observing social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands regularly.
China has effectively controlled the spread of the novel coronavirus,
registering no new confirmed or suspected domestic cases for 44
consecutive days as of Monday.
However, a steady number of imported cases are reported daily, and
the risk of seeing new clusters of infections remains, according to the
To further step up its preparedness with regard to infectious
diseases circulating during the fall and winter, the commission has
trained 2.9 million healthcare workers in nucleic acid testing for the
novel coronavirus, epidemiologic investigations and the analysis of new
outbreaks. On-site inspections of local disease control work have also
been conducted in 17 provinces, Wu said.
Officials added that a series of steps have been taken in response to
the greater risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus as domestic
tourism is expected to see a major rebound during the upcoming eight-day
National Day holiday.
Li Jian, deputy director of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism's
market management department, said on Tuesday that tourist sites and
theaters must limit the number of daily visitors to under 75 percent of
their maximum capacity and promote visits based on prior reservations.
Li Huaqiang, deputy director of the Ministry of Transport's
Transportation Services Department, said that the ministry has urged the
implementation of regular disease control measures, such as
disinfection, ventilation and taking the temperature of passengers
during the National Day holiday.
"For elderly people and children who are unable to present health
codes on mobile phones by themselves, we have also asked transport
workers to provide assistance and help them provide the related
information," he added.