Patients infected with the novel coronavirus are seen at a makeshift hospital converted from an exhibition center in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 5, 2020. The makeshift hospital converted from an exhibition center in China's epidemic-hit Wuhan city began accepting patients Wednesday. The hospital can provide about 1,600 beds to infected patients. (Xinhua/Xiong Qi)

China has changed the course of COVID-19 outbreak, Bruce Aylward, an epidemiologist who led an advance team from the World Health Organization (WHO), said here on Tuesday, noting a rapidly escalating outbreak in China has plateaued and come down faster than previously expected.

It’s a unanimous assessment of the 25-member team which has conducted a nine-day field study trip to China’s Beijing, Guangdong, Sichuan and Hubei, stressed Aylward.Recalling details of the study trip in China, Aylward said he was impressed by China’s pragmatic, systemic and innovative approach to control the COVID-19 outbreak.China has taken “differentiated approach” for different situations of sporadic cases, clusters of cases, or community transmission, which makes a massive scale of epidemic control work without exhausting its response, said Aylward.

Moreover, the WHO expert praised Chinese phenomenal collective action, stressing “it’s never easy to get the kind of passion, commitment, interest and individual sense of duty that help stop the virus.””Every person you talked to (in China) has a sense that they’re mobilized like in a war against the virus and they are organized,” said Aylward, who was particularly impressed by thousands of health care workers volunteering to go into Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Aylward pointed out China has also repurposed machinery of government, for example by forming a central leading group on the epidemic, dispatching a central guiding team, which ensures the prevention and control of the virus.
Besides, Aylward highlighted that China’s pragmatic approach is “technology-powered and science-driven”.”They are using big data, artificial intelligence (AI) in places,” Aylward said, adding that China has managed massive amounts of data in finding each COVID-19 cases and tracing contacts, as well as been able to make consultation of regular health services done online, by which the capacity of hospitals could be intensively used for COVID-19 cases.
Aylward was aware that China has issued six versions of national treatment guidelines for COVID-19, representing fast scientific evolvement in understanding of the new virus.”It’s a science-driven agile response as well at a phenomenal scale,” He said.

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