China implements measures to address surge in respiratory infectious diseases

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2nd December 2023 – (Beijing) In response to a recent increase in respiratory infectious diseases, medical authorities in China have taken proactive measures to address the rising demand for medical treatment during the winter season. Data from monitoring sources indicate that the prevalent respiratory illnesses include influenza, as well as those caused by rhinovirus, mycoplasma pneumoniae, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, among others.

Nationwide, pediatric medical institutions have been operating around the clock, ensuring that necessary medical support is available for young patients. Additionally, education authorities and schools have intensified health monitoring and disease prevention measures to protect the well-being and safety of both students and faculty members.

To effectively tackle the situation, the National Health Commission (NHC) announced its commitment to fully utilize pediatric diagnosis and treatment services, expanding the availability of medical resources. The NHC advised medical institutions to extend their outpatient reception hours, increase the number of available outpatient services, expand consultation rooms and treatment areas, and establish nighttime and weekend outpatient departments tailored to the medical needs of pediatric patients.

Beijing Children’s Hospital, a leading pediatric medical institution in the Chinese capital, has witnessed a significant surge in outpatient and emergency cases, at times exceeding its capacity. To accommodate the growing demand, the hospital has repurposed surgical rooms to treat children with fevers, adjusted staff distribution towards internal medicine and departments specializing in fever and cough, established a sequential treatment clinic for pneumonia, and increased the number of beds in the internal medicine department to cater to children with pneumonia. Additionally, the hospital has expanded its inspection, imaging, pharmacy, and charging services, with increased staffing and extended working hours.

Similarly, the Second Hospital of Jilin University, located in Changchun, Jilin Province, has transformed a significant portion of its outpatient reception hall into an infusion area for pediatric patients. This setup allows children to undergo infusion treatment while accompanied by their family members. The hospital has also mobilized doctors from other departments to assist the pediatric internal medicine department, ensuring adequate medical personnel to handle the increased treatment demands. It has established a comprehensive emergency plan and extended its emergency department hours until 11 p.m. Moreover, a temporary pharmacy has been set up specifically for pediatric emergency patients, ensuring convenient access to necessary medications.

In order to protect the health and safety of students, Beijing municipal authorities, including the Beijing Municipal Education Commission, have emphasised the need for increased efforts in late November. The commission has urged schools to monitor the health of both teachers and students, ensuring that individuals showing signs of illness do not attend classes or work. Schools have been advised not to impose mandatory homework requirements on ill students, and it is recommended that missed coursework be addressed without rushing during their recovery. Furthermore, schools have been instructed to effectively coordinate online and offline teaching, with communication between relevant class teachers and parents regarding missed course material.

In Jilin Province, all schools have strengthened daily management and implemented educational programs on disease prevention among students and parents. For example, the Second Experimental Gaoxin School of Jilin Province has implemented stringent morning and afternoon inspections, registration, and reporting procedures for students absent due to illness. Classrooms have increased efforts in daily ventilation and sanitation, and teachers are actively promoting frequent handwashing among students. In cases where related illnesses are identified within specific classes, additional measures such as symptom monitoring, case management, disinfection, and enhanced ventilation have been implemented.