A Beijing municipal government official said on Monday that the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the Chinese capital has been curbed thanks to effective measures and timely tracing of infected people.
Xu Hejian, director of the information office of the municipal government, said reports of new local infections dropped on Sunday.
The epidemic may be showing signs of abating, he said, adding that pressure remains to continue control efforts in the city.
Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said nine COVID-19 cases were confirmed on Sunday, and the people have been sent to designated hospitals for treatment.
The age of the infected people ranges from 35 to 68. Three of them were male, she said.
Five of the cases were detected in Beijing's Fengtai district, two in Haidian district and one each in Xicheng and Chaoyang districts, she added.
Li Suying, a member of an expert panel of the National Health Commission and chief physician at Beijing You'an Hospital, said that since the prevention of in-hospital infections has become a top priority. Once an infection occurs in a hospital, many patients in the same ward need to be isolated, and an entire hospital may be closed.
To prevent the infection of health workers, she said, the hospital has launched a publicity campaign to raise awareness of the problem. Members of hospital staffs have been wearing face masks and are required to report daily if they have been to a high-risk area.
In addition, the hospital launched an appointment system to prevent the gathering of crowds and set up checkpoints for temperatures to screen incoming patients. Nurses and doctors are required to ask probing questions about patients' recent medical history, she added.
Li said that while screening measures are complicated, they are necessary. To ensure each patient's safety, nucleic acid tests and CT scans are also required for new patients.
Staff members are also required to report their own health conditions. Visits to other departments are not allowed, she said.