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Response shows country's governing capacity facing up to the test: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-01-28 19:26
Members of a medical team prepare to leave for Wuhan of Hubei province at Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, capital of China, on Jan 26, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Showing that the specter that has been set free from the wild by humans is still to be sated, the number of people confirmed to be infected with the novel coronavirus rose to about 5,000 nationwide on Tuesday, up from around half that number two days ago, and 106 people are reported to have died after contracting the virus.

With the infection rate having soared rapidly, following the parabola of previous pandemics, efforts to contain the spread of the new deadly virus strain are at the most difficult stage.

That challenge is compounded by the Spring Festival holiday coming to an end on Sunday, the holiday having been extended by three days because of the pandemic — which means hundreds of millions of people will once again be on the move.

However, unlike the start of the holiday when there was still little known about the virus and what needed to be done, the authorities and the public are now aware that the virus is a savage public health crisis that requires concerted efforts to tame.

The country's top leaders are coordinating the nationwide response. Having locked down Wuhan, Hubei province, where the outbreak originated, and its satellite towns, military medical teams have been deployed to help the province, which is the epicenter of the pandemic — about half of the infections reported so far are in the province — and teams of medical volunteers from around the country have also rushed to help.

Governments at all levels have also swung into action with emergency measures and they are making every effort to identify anyone infected and trace and monitor those they have been in close contact with.

And China's immigration authorities on Tuesday urged Chinese citizens to postpone overseas travel to curb the spread of the virus, saying reducing the flow of people across the border will help contain the outbreak.

Also highlighting that the public also has an important role to play, the day before, President Xi Jinping called on Communist Party of China organizations, members and officials to demonstrate leadership and action in prevention and control work, and to unite the people in the fight against the virus.

After their initial sense of panic and helplessness during the early stages of the breakout of the unknown virus, people are demonstrating more calmness and rationality, thanks in part to the central government's efforts to keep people abreast of the fast-changing situation.

People now realize that they have a key part to play in the war against the virus, and they are ready to shoulder their responsibilities.

With the war against the virus now evolving into campaigns in communities, villages, townships, counties and cities, the tasks become more specific and concrete — ranging from quarantining and treating the suspected infected residents in a timely manner to taking care of the others — while maintaining the normal operations of different sectors, particularly those related to research on the virus and medical equipment industries.

The pandemic is a test of a country's governing capacity, which needs to successfully display its responsiveness and efficiency in rallying all sectors of society to respond to this large-scale emergency. In doing so, the nation will emerge stronger from the ordeal, just as it has after previous ordeals in its long history.

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