COVID-19 Frontline: China shares experience with Singapore, Kenya, Ghana and the U.S.
CGTN

Editor's Note: The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 12. As of May 11 , 215 countries and regions worldwide have confirmed over 4,170,000 cases, with more than 285,000 deaths, according to data from John Hopkins University. CGTN's live program "COVID-19 Frontline" invites frontline medical workers and experts from China and all over the world to share their experiences and take questions from social media users in the hope of providing more information to those who are battling against the pandemic.

Seventeen years ago, Dr. Li Quanrui and head nurse Sun Xuelian from Beijing's Xuanwu Hospital Capital Medical University fought against SARS on the frontline in Beijing. This year, they combated COVID-19 epidemic at China's once hardest hit city Wuhan, spending 65 days there treating critically ill patients.  

In the latest episode of CGTN's live program "COVID-19 Frontline," they shared their firsthand experience with experts and medics from the U.S., Singapore, Kenya, and Ghana. 

Live: Chinese medics share COVID-19 treatment experience with counterparts abroad

As of Monday, the U.S. has reported over 1,340,000 confirmed cases, while the number reached 23,822 in Singapore, 700 in Kenya and 4,700 in Ghana. 

Doctors from Beijing's Xuanwu Hospital Capital Medical University shares experience with their counterparts from the U.S., Singapore, Kenya, and Ghana. /CGTN Screenshot

Doctors from Beijing's Xuanwu Hospital Capital Medical University shares experience with their counterparts from the U.S., Singapore, Kenya, and Ghana. /CGTN Screenshot

How to provide care and treatment to elderly patients?   

Wu Bei, Dean's Professor in Global Health of Rory Meyers College of Nursing at New York University, asked how to properly take care of elderly COVID-19 patients in hospitals, which they find quite challenging in the U.S. 

Dr. Li Quanrui, Chief Physician of Infectious Diseases Department at Xuanwu Hospital Capital Medical University, said that elderly people are more vulnerable to the attack of the coronavirus due to their weaker immune systems and more underlying diseases. They also tend to develop various co-morbidities.  Therefore, special attention should be paid to some key clinical indicators so as to take precaution measures timely when there is abnormality. The indicators include the levels of peripheral blood Lymphocytes, cytokines such as C-reaction protein and Interlurk-6, blood lactate, respiratory ratio, blood oxygen saturation and medical imaging results when necessary.  

Sun Xuelian, Head Nurse of the Emergency Department at Xuanwu Hospital Capital Medical University, said that more than 60 percent of their patients in Wuhan were elderly, and the majority of them were in severe conditions. As the disease is contagious, the patients' family members were not allowed to keep them company, so the nurses needed to offer comprehensive daily care to the patients, which included medication, feeding, cleaning and mental support. 

Dr. Li Quanrui works in Wuhan with his collogues./CGTN Screenshot

Dr. Li Quanrui works in Wuhan with his collogues./CGTN Screenshot

COVID-19 containment in Singapore 

Dr. Chen Guang, a scientist focused on coronaviruses and epidemic control at Singapore Research Club, also shared Singapore's strategy to control the COVID-19 epidemic at the moment, which he summarized as "normalized" and "refined" countermeasures.  

Similar to China, Singapore has divided patients into several categories: mild patients, severe patients, critically ill patients, and potential carriers of the virus such as foreigners working in the country. Different groups have been observed and treated in different places. For example, mild patients stay in designated hotels for medical observations, and severe patients are treated in hospitals. He said there are now some 20 critically ill patients in ICUs in Singapore.  

Different levels of PPE for medical staff at different positions

Pauline Hayeh, a training coordinator of infection prevention and control at China-Ghana Friendly Hospital, asked whether different levels of PPE (personal protective equipment) should be used for medical staff working at different departments of a hospital.

Sun said that there have been three levels of protection in Wuhan, which is based on the different infection risk levels. At the departments of infectious disease and fever, where the risk is the highest, medical staff have been required to use Level-3 PPE (personal protective equipment). That includes a hat to cover the hair, an N95 mask, a goggle or a facial shield, a protective gown, double-layered rubber gloves, and rubber boots with waterproof cover for each person. When perform risky operations like intubation, they should also wear a positive pressure mask, she added.

For medical staff working in other departments, they should wear N95 mask or surgical mask, regular working clothes and shoes, and one layer surgical gloves or rubber gloves, she added.

Hayeh also asked how to manage the working shifts of the nurses so as to ease their burden. Sun said that when they first arrived in Wuhan, they tried six-hour shifts for the nurses, which proved too physically challenging. Therefore, one shift has been shortened to four hours. 

In the upcoming programs, more Chinese doctors and experts who had been fighting on the COVID-19 frontline will share their experiences with their colleagues from other parts of the world. You can pose your questions with CGTN using #MyOpinionOnCOVID19 on Facebook.