COVID-19 Frontline: Experts' experiences on COVID-19 control

Editor's note: On March 12, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and as of Tuesday (July 14), about 200 countries and regions have confirmed over 12,768,000 cases, according to the WHO. On CGTN's live program "COVID-19 Frontline," we invited workers and experts from China and other parts of the world to share their experiences and take questions from social media, in the hope of providing more information for those who are battling against the pandemic.

In the latest episodes of CGTN's livestream program "COVID-19 Frontline" held on Monday, July 13, CGTN invited experts from China's First Affiliated Hospital of Xi'an Jiaotong University and Xi'an Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to exchange their COVID-19 prevention experience with overseas counterparts from Zambia and Canada.

Live: Chinese medics share COVID-19 prevention experience with overseas counterparts

Experts' frontline experiences

Shi Bingyin, dean of the First Affiliated Hospital, Xi'an Jiaotong University, said he had spent about two months in Wuhan, China, and treated many severe COVID-19 patients. He said the first thing is to carefully observe changes in disease progression and then give specific treatments. Nursing is also very important. If necessary, intubation must be immediately done for some specific patients. Dr Shi thinks most patients should recover quickly but treatment needs to be done in time, otherwise the patient's condition will worsen.

CGTN's live stream program "COVID-19 Frontline" held on Monday. /CGTN

CGTN's live stream program "COVID-19 Frontline" held on Monday. /CGTN

Zhang Weihong, professor of School of Public Health, Ghent University, Belgium, said Belgium is a very small country, and the health care system in Belgium is relatively stable among the European countries. 

Everyone, regardless whether they are rich or poor, is covered by insurance. And data related to the pandemic is collected via specialized hospitals, and then uploaded to a central system. Mildly ill patients are quarantined at home and critically ill patients go to hospitals. 

Professor Zhang said they found that women are more susceptible to the novel coronavirus, but men tend to have a higher mortality rate. As the course of the disease progresses, elderly patients are more likely to be treated at the ICU. More than half of all elderly deaths in Belgium occur in nursing homes, Zhang added.

Wei Xiaolin, professor of University of Toronto, Canada, spoke on the current situation in Canada. He said nursing homes in Canada are also heavily affected by the novel coronavirus. He said the Canadian federal government needs to improve its cooperation with provincial governments. Under such emergency, it really needs a coalition body at the federal level to collect all the data and provide policies. 

He said the first COVID-19 case in Canada was reported on January 26, but Canada did not respond quickly enough. Besides, Canada also needs to prepare more personal protective equipment as well as respirators, and the elderly in nursing homes need to be given more attention. Maybe in future, when there is an infectious disease, the nursing home should be closed and its staff should be tested.

Medics share COVID-19 prevention experiences via CGTN's live stream program "COVID-19 Frontline." /CGTN

Medics share COVID-19 prevention experiences via CGTN's live stream program "COVID-19 Frontline." /CGTN

Changes to public health education needed

Zeng Lingxia, professor of School of Public Health, Xi'an Jiaotong University, said public health is a very important part of the medical education, but clinical medicine has always been given more attention than public health in the past. This has always been a big problem. At the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, many medics were infected. Public health is about prevention and control from the perspective of the population, but clinical practice is about individual diagnosis and treatment; different aspects are emphasized. 

The goal of public health education in China is still very vague, and "we need to reorient the educational goals of public health. The role of public health in the medical protection system is like a dam for flood control. The public health talents are the people on the front lines," professor Zeng said.


In later episodes of "COVID-19 Frontline," more frontline doctors and experts from China will join in to share their experience with their colleagues from other parts of the world. If you have any questions regarding COVID-19, you can share with us using #MyOpinionOnCOVID19 on Facebook.

Videos by Zhang Rongyi

Cover image by Du Chenxin