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Q&A: Top health expert on latest virus developments

By ZOU SHUO | Updated: 2020-02-01 14:30
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Zhong Nanshan in this file photo. [Photo/Xinhua]

Renowned Chinese respiratory expert Zhong Nanshan shares his views on the latest developments in the novel coronavirus outbreak in an interview with Beijing Television on Friday.

Q: Should people get tested for the coronavirus infection if they have symptoms of a cold or fever?

A: If they have a fever, they should go to get tested for the virus, because the most common symptom for the novel coronavirus is fever. Other symptoms include fatigue and coughing. If they have such symptoms, they should go to the fever clinics to get tested.

If they have had contact with people from Wuhan, they should get tested even if they do not have such symptoms, since some people do not show any symptoms at the early stage.

Q: People will soon return to work and they are wondering whether they will get infected if they have touched things used by coronavirus patients?

A: People will not get infected if they only touched things used by patients. The virus is transmitted mainly through droplets and feces.

Q: Some patients have been discharged from the hospital. Will they have any side effects?

A: I have not noticed any obvious side effects. The disease now has a mortality rate of 2.5 percent. We are trying everything to save patients, especially those in critical condition, by giving them medical and life support.

Q: How does the virus compare with SARS? Which one is more dangerous?

A: The new coronavirus is less dangerous.

Q: Many elderly people have chronic diseases and need to go to the hospital regularly to get medicine. If they run out of medicine, should they go to the hospital?

A: We found that elderly people with chronic disease have higher chances to get infected. It's better for them to ask their children to go to the hospital to get medicine.

Q: Are there any new treatment methods you want to share with us?

A: The two main treatment methods are still early detection and early isolation. They are the most primitive and effective ways.

Q: Your eyes were filled with tears during an early interview with Xinhua News Agency. Could you tell us what happened?

A: Medical workers in Wuhan have worked very hard and patients are also very depressed. I talked to many of my students who are medical staff in Wuhan and they are not in a good mood.

One of my students told me that people were singing the national anthem on the street, "The Chinese nation has entered a critical stage." It shows that people have high morale. I was deeply touched. When dealing with infectious patients in critical situation, morale, solidarity and cooperation are very important.

Q: When will the epidemic end?

A: The country has taken strong epidemic prevention and containment measures. Other than Wuhan, we have not seen large-scale infections in other places. I think it will not last as long as the SARS epidemic in 2003.

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