Chinese chief medical officer urges Europe to be more proactive in fighting coronavirus



Zhong Nanshan, head of China's appointed medical team of experts to fight the coronavirus, urged Europe on Monday to take more proactive measures against the coronavirus, identify infections faster, and be more effective in putting restrictions and quarantines into action. .

"I think Europe is now facing the first round of the epidemic and should take more proactive measures. Don't wait until it is too late and it hurts," Zhong said at a press conference in the southern city of Guangzhou, where he also highlighted the importance of further testing for the virus or protecting healthcare professionals.

"There are European countries that are carrying out confinements in the cities. But people go out for a coffee, they meet ... This is not how this type of quarantine works," said the prestigious Chinese pulmonologist, 83, who He played a leading role in the fight against the SARS epidemic in the Asian country in 2003.

Zhong added that other efforts are necessary, such as isolating all close contacts from those infected by COVID-19, even if they do not show symptoms.

According to the doctor, in the provincial capital of Hubei, Wuhan, the city where the outbreak originated, awareness of the virus and measures to protect itself were very low at first, leading to its rapid spread and the spread of many health professionals .

The most important thing, said Zhong, is "protect yourself first and then the others", for which you should avoid crowds, wear a mask and, above all, "do tests, tests and more tests" to detect new cases, he said, since that is the way China managed to slow down the epidemic.

"Many doctors who were on the front line were infected. If they become infected, confidence is undermined to win the battle. We sent Wuhan to nearly 40,000 doctors from other cities who were equipped and had the necessary capacity. They were not infected Protection is key. "

The pulmonologist also assured that the virus should not be allowed to spread and appeal to the immunity of people: "there are no data that support that a cured person is cured for life. We must cooperate more, work together around the world to find solutions. "

"Different countries have a different understanding of how to fight the virus, but we should share experiences. We fight with the same goal. This is an epidemic and no country is safe," he warned.

China, which last 12 days declared that the peak of transmissions had come to an end, should "remain alert", especially for cases imported from other countries, according to Zhong.

"In China we now have to work on prevention, while trying to return to work and production. We managed to turn the peak of the epidemic around thanks to what we did in Hubei. If we had not done so, the situation would now be very different" , indicated the Chinese expert.

He also pointed out that, according to the data he manages, the average mortality rate of the virus is between 1% and 2% of those infected.

The National Health Commission of China reported today that, until last local morning (16.00 GMT on Tuesday), there are a total of 3,237 deaths among the 80,894 infections detected since the start of the outbreak.

Both the number of new infections and deaths have remained below 21 daily since March 11, according to official statistics.

A day later, on March 12, the Chinese government declared that the peak of transmissions had come to an end in the Asian country.

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