A medical worker administers a nucleic acid test in Dalian, Liaoning province, on Friday after new COVID-19 cases were reported in the port city. (Photo by Wang Hua/For China Daily)
Uncertainties remain regarding the latest COVID-19 epidemic in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning province, the health minister has said, urging authorities in the port city to take extraordinary measures to put the infections under control.
Dalian authorities have responded quickly and taken precise measures following the latest domestic infections of the novel coronavirus, but intensified efforts for its prevention and control are needed as the epidemic is still in the early stage and at a critical moment, said Ma Xiaowei, minister of the National Health Commission, who arrived in the city of Dalian on Friday night.
The city had reported 24 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Saturday since the outbreak started on Wednesday, according to the city's health authorities.
More efforts must be made to quickly expand nucleic acid testing for the virus in Dalian, including making use of virus testing resources in nearby cities, so all the city's residents could be covered within four days if possible, said Ma, who attended a meeting on epidemic control in Dalian on Sunday afternoon.
Strict epidemic prevention and control measures should apply to more groups, including putting close contacts of confirmed patients'close contacts under isolation, with each one in a separate room at designated isolation sites, he said.
Meanwhile, more precise and effective epidemic control and prevention measures should be applied to residential compounds. Residents living in medium or high risk areas should not leave the city, while residents living in low-risk areas can leave with certificates to prove they have tested negative for the novel coronavirus, Ma said.
Ma also ordered authorities in Dalian to try every means to save patients, including emptying a hospital within 24 hours to exclusively receive COVID-19 patients, to ensure all COVID-19 cases in the city can get admitted.