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Covid in China: The First Wave

covid in china
Wuhan – the city of 11 million where COVID-19 first emerged – plans to test ‘all residents’ after new cases emerged

Before talking about how China overcame Covid-19, we need to discuss how it responded to its news. On 31st December 2019, China notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about an outbreak. The origins of this pneumonia outbreak were not known. Later, the city of Wuhan, located on the eastern side of China, was found to be the location of the outbreak.

In no less than 7 days after the news of this outbreak, Chinese health officials identified the cause of this pneumonia outbreak. They coined it “2019-nCoV” on the 7th of January 2020.

This was the world’s battle with the invisible “enemy.” An “enemy” that went on to take millions of lives around the globe. A relentless virus. However, before it reached the rest of the world, Covid broke out in China. This post will discuss Covid in China and how the govt dealt with it.

Initial Response to Covid in China

China had to overcome Covid. The authorities made it clear. Life was at a standstill for months. People suffered because of Covid. Some had nervous breakdowns. Lock down made others struggle. Being stuck together broke many relationships.

While Wuhan faced a full-frontal quarantine, the response was immediate. Curfews set in place to deal with the Covid virus in China. Strict surveillance in neighbourhoods prevented people from going out. Life was at a standstill as China collectively dealt with the Covid virus in Wuhan.

In addition, all shops except those providing food and medicines shut down, and tight restrictions were placed on people to force quarantine. The government also canceled activities involving crowds. It postponed the reopening of schools and colleges. Also, the government extended the winter holidays.

Investigations traced the outbreak to a seafood market that sold bats. Authorities believed it to be the origin of the virus. So, the Chinese authorities closed the market on January 1, 2020, due to Covid.

This large-scale quarantine and social distancing had its effects. The scale of lockdowns and economic losses was unlike anything. Certainly not to this extent. This made epidemiologists unsure– whether it would work or not. Indeed, skeptics worldwide were on the fence about how effective social distancing was.

covid in china
In Jilin City, a medical worker takes a swab sample

National Reporting System

The Chinese government took no chances with lives. The case doctor had to report any claim digitally on diagnosis or suspicion of the COVID-19 case in Wuhan. Another measure– daily reports for the newly suspected, diagnosed, and asymptomatic cases and deaths. This number added to the statistics generated for the total number in each area. It was useful in letting the authorities know how well any area was doing with Covid in China.

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Each province had to submit its report. That too, on a daily basis. Experts generated epidemiological curves for each province and the whole country using this data. The country also used these data to identify and focus on areas that have more cases and require further measures.

Healthcare and Medical Services for the Public during Covid in China

On January 24, the government decided they needed more space to accommodate Covid patients. The Chinese government started building new hospitals in Wuhan and preparing the existing ones to receive Covid-19 patients. With an affliction that could spread by breathing, they had to have a safe space to treat it. The Huoshenshan Hospital treats 1,000 COVID-19 patients at once! It’s amazing. During the same period, the Leishenshan Hospital, with a 1,500-bed capacity, opened to the public.

As for the health team, the government deployed more than 40,000 healthcare workers. Moreover, they mobilized medical resources from across the country to support the response in Wuhan. In addition, China’s Health Commission worked on tracking Covid-19 among healthcare workers. The revision of protection standards and prevention and control measures against the disease in hospitals ensued.

Huoshenshan Hospital China
Huoshenshan Hospital is one of two new hospitals being built for COVID response

Situational Improvements

A big win for the authorities and the healthcare workers who worked round the clock! After all the measures and people’s effort, a decline in the number of new cases and deaths was observed by the end of February and was still ongoing. Health authorities reported zero new local Covid-19 cases in Wuhan and Hubei provinces for four straight days from March 19 to March 22.

Fighting and containing an outbreak of a novel pathogen with person-to-person transmission in this highly mobile world is hard. But the government’s and people’s effort helped fight it. China announced the removal of the lockdown and the travel restrictions on Wuhan. Also, they restarted the economy on April 8.

China provides hope for the rest of the world and reminds other countries that even the most difficult situations can be reversed. Its work during the outbreak has since inspired several countries around the globe.

While the rest of the world was combatting the spread of the virus, China beat Covid. Even their economy was on the rise again.

Conclusion: How China Overcame The First Covid Wave

China’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic is to be appraised. It has stunned the whole world. To control the high level of collective action in a modern city with more than 11 million people is truly astonishing.

China’s government and people were up for the challenge and were able to contain the outbreak within their country’s borders. After more than two months, the situation was heading steadfast towards improvement.

If you liked this post, please let us know in the comments. I would love to hear your thoughts on how the Chinese government fought Covid and beat its first wave. While this time around, it got worse, it is a post I will write soon to inform you of all events. For now, I hope you found this post informative. I know the Covid burnout is real, but we must learn from our actions and mistakes. It is vital to growing to fight the next pandemic.

Interested in learning more about China? There’s more to read, like the Toxic Work Culture In China and The Chinese Zodiac.

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By Hina Butt

Hina has spent a huge chunk of her life in China and considers it as her second home. She's a mommy of two perfect kids and now lives in Oman after moving in with her husband.
Before she started writing blog posts for SesameDisk, she got a graduate degree in Medicine(M.B.B.S) from Southeast University, Nanjing, China. During that time, just to shake things up, she went to Language school at the Shandong University in Jinan and ended up passing HSK Level 6 with flying colors.
She then worked as a GP and did a handful of practices, taught English in Chinese schools and later got into beauty blogging with some really important people who are way too dignified to be named here!
She now writes full-time.

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