China is carrying out a survey to identify people most susceptible to COVID-19 infections, including the elderly and those with underlying diseases, an official with the National Health Commission (NHC) said on Thursday.
The action came in line with China's optimization of COVID-19 response, with the priority of work shifted from preventing infections to medical treatment and more efforts devoted to the protection of vulnerable groups and improvement of primary-level medical services.
All localities have been required to have a clear understanding of the health conditions of people aged 65 and above, especially those with such diseases as coronary heart disease, stroke and hypertension, Nie Chunlei, head of the department of primary health of the NHC, told a press conference in Beijing.
The elderly can be classified according to their underlying diseases, age groups, and COVID-19 vaccination status following the survey, according to the official.
"The move is aimed at providing classified services for elderly people suffering from underlying diseases so as to direct the limited medical resources to those most in need and improve the efficiency and quality of medical services," Nie said.
Local governments are carrying out the survey with intensive efforts across the country, among which Shanghai has completed this task among its citizens aged 65 and above, he noted.
Primary-level healthcare institutions are playing an active role in providing more convenient and accessible medical services, according to Nie.
China is accelerating efforts to expand the capacity of fever clinics at the medical institutions, which will also help implement classified diagnosis and treatment.
Nie said that by the end of October, there were a total of 19,400 fever clinics or consulting rooms set up at community healthcare centers and those at the township level across the country.
It is expected that by March 2023, about 90 percent of township-level health centers will be equipped with fever clinics. "This will effectively enhance the capability of primary-level healthcare institutions to receive patients with fever," said Nie.
Nie also called for efforts to channel necessary anti-virus materials, such as medicines and antigen test kits, to the primary-level facilities and further promote family doctor services particularly among those most susceptible to COVID-19 infections.