In the past
few months, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) has
posed a great threat to the health of the people.
The Chinese government and people have spared no
efforts fighting the disease. Remarkable success
has been achieved and valuable lessons have been learned in
the SARS prevention and control in China. Now
while Hong Kong and Taiwan have been removed form the WHO
travel warning list, the situation in the mainland is also
I. Development of
SARS Epidemic in China
SARS was first
found in southern part of China at the end of last year.
The epidemic has experienced three major
-- From January to March, the
epidemic was mainly in Guangdong Province. By the
end of March, the cumulative number of clinically confirmed
cases in the mainland was 1,190, among which 1,153 cases, or
97% were in Guangdong Province.
April, the epidemic spread to some other areas of the
mainland and was particularly serious in Beijing, Shanxi,
Inner Mongolia, Hebei and Tianjin. By the end of
April, the cumulative number of clinically confirmed cases
was 3,460, among which 3,368 cases, or 97.3% were from the
five provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in
North China and Guangdong Province.
In May and June, the epidemic leveled off and started to
decline. In early May, the average number of new
cases per day was 151; in mid May, it was 45; in late May,
it was 14; and from June 1 to now, it was almost zero.
On June 13, the
WHO removed Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Tianjin from
its travel warning list. And the situation in
Beijing is also improving rapidly. For 9
consecutive days since June 11, there has been no new
clinically confirmed case of SARS in Beijing.
As of 20 June, a total of
5,326 clinically confirmed cases have been reported in the
mainland. A total of 4,806 patients, or 90.2% have
recovered and been discharged from hospital. There
were 347 deaths and mortality rate was 6.5%.
Currently, 166 SARS patients are still receiving
treatment in hospitals.
Major Measures Taken by China to Control
SARS is a brand new infectious
disease. At the beginning, China lacked knowledge
on the infectious nature of the disease and people were not
vigilant enough. In addition, due to the huge and
high mobility of the population and the inefficiency of some
officials, our work to fight SARS had been somewhat passive
for a period of time.
the Chinese government soon came to realize the SARS
challenge and has taken a series of prompt and decisive
measures to fight against it. It has become the
top priority of the government agenda ever since.
By relying on science and technology, mobilizing
the whole population, strengthening international
cooperation, China has achieved great progress in preventing
and controlling the disease.
-- Improving health
legislation and managing SARS according to law.
government included SARS in the list of statutory notifiable
infectious diseases. SARS was brought into
management procedures in accordance with the Law of
Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases.
●The State Council issued the
Regulations on Public Health Emergency Response and the
Ministry of Health formulated the Protocols of SARS
disease reporting system has been improved and prevention
and treatment measures enhanced. The local
governments are required to detect and report the epidemic
accurately and manage the epidemic according to law.
An open and transparent SARS cases report and
information release system on the daily basis has been put
in place. Early detection, early reporting, early
isolation and early treatment are required.
-- Optimizing organization
and leadership and establishing unified coordination and
●The State Council
established SARS Control Headquarters headed by Vice-Premier
Wu Yi. Local governments at all levels have also
set up SARS control steering panels and introduced a SARS
control responsibility system for leaders of local
central government has sent experts-based inspection teams
to 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions in
the mainland to supervise and guide local SARS control work
at close quarters.
resources are integrated and control measures are
strengthened. Crisis management mechanism for
public health emergencies has also been improved.
-- Enhancing sanitation and
sanitation measures have been taken to disinfect SARS
contaminated places and articles in both hospitals and
efforts have been made to publicize information on SARS
control and prevention and to enhance public awareness and
ability of self-protection, thus getting the whole society
mobilized and ensuring mass prevention and control.
-- Controlling SARS in rural areas by
mobilizing the public.
● Priority has been
placed on epidemic control in the vast rural areas.
surveillance measures were put in place to monitor farmers
students who were returning to
their hometowns from cities so as to cut off transmission.
migrant workers has been strengthened to reduce their
treatment has been provided to farmer patients wherever they
As of the end
of May, 241 clinically confirmed cases are farmers which
shows that there has been no large-scale spread in rural
-- Enhancing travel quarantine
and establishing passenger tracking mechanism.
●The civil aviation,
railway, boat and long-distance buses all introduced
passenger surveillance, registration and tracking systems.
SARS patients, once found, are immediately
isolated to cut off transmission.
●Strict measures have been
taken at ports of exit and entry to ensure the health and
safety of international travelers and to prevent the spread
of the disease.
are provided to passengers traveling to foreign countries
that require health certificate.
-- Mobilizing optimal
resources to isolate and treat patients.
●All SARS patients or
suspected patients have been put in isolation and given
treatment wherever detected.
●All those having had
close contact with SARS patients have been put in isolation
or under observation wherever detected.
or wards for SARS cases have been set up in many localities.
-- Treating SARS patients
through the integration of western medicine and traditional
Chinese medicine to improve treatment efficiency.
Experts of western medicine and traditional
Chinese medicine were organized to study effective treatment
regimens so as to improve recovery rate. This has
proved to be fruitful.
government investment and providing medical assistance.
●More than 1.2
billion US dollars have been allocated to purchase medical
supplies, drugs and protective materials.
●Farmers and urban
residents having financial difficulties were treated free of
●Medical assistance has
also been offered to low-income urban residents.
-- Developing technical
exchange and enhancing scientific research.
●Cooperation and exchange of
information with WHO and other countries.
of medical experts from the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and
Taiwan to share diagnosis and treatment experience and to
work together on effective treatment and prevention of SARS.
experts to study the source of the epidemic, develop rapid
diagnostics tests and medicine as well as vaccines.
Since the outbreak of SARS, China has
received wide support and assistance from all over the
world. Many Dutch companies and institutes have
either made donations or expressed their willingness to
provide technological assistance to China. China
sincerely appreciates their
Now, the SARS situation
in the mainland is on the whole under effective control,
however, we shall keep on guard. The task of fully
controlling SARS is still arduous. It is no time
to be complacent.
Situation in China against the Backdrop of
While fighting SARS, the Chinese
government has also taken active measures to reduce negative
impact of SARS upon Chinas economy. In fact,
Chinas economy continues grew at a relevantly high
speed in the first four months of this year. China
achieved a growth rate of 8.9% in April when SARS hit China
most. And foreign trade volume in this single
month exceeded 70 billion US dollars. Starting
from June, operation of all the sectors affected by SARS
epidemic, including tourism, catering, business exchanges is
returning to normal.
government and people have every confidence and capability
to overcome SARS and achieve further economic growth at the
same time. Dutch people and Dutch companies are
most welcome either to visit China or invest in China.