Breaking the chains of transmission through early intervention.The strictest closure and traffic restrictions were enforced on all outbound routes from Wuhan and Hubei. International passenger flights, and ferries and long-distance passenger transport services in many parts of the province were suspended, as were road and waterway passenger services bound for Wuhan from other places of the country. Airports and railway stations were closed and intra-city public transport halted in Wuhan and many other parts of Hubei. All these restrictions effectively stopped the virus from spreading nationwide, especially in rural Hubei where public health infrastructure was relatively weak.
Areas outside Hubei took a differentiated approach to traffic control. The provinces abutting Hubei built traffic control “isolation zones” around the province, preventing the virus from spreading beyond Hubei. Other parts of China adopted a targeted, tiered, and region-specific approach. They exercised a dynamic control over urban and rural road transport services and strengthened health and quarantine measures for domestic routes.
Rigorous measures were taken to prevent public gatherings and cross-infection. The Chinese New Year holiday was extended, public gatherings were canceled or postponed, and the spring semester was postponed in schools. Cinemas, theaters, internet cafés, and gyms were all closed. Strict procedures had to be followed in essential public facilities, including bus stations, airports, ports, farmers markets, shopping malls, supermarkets, restaurants and hotels, and in enclosed transport vehicles such as buses, trains and planes. All persons were required to wear masks and undergo temperature monitoring when accessing these venues or vehicles. In addition, all such facilities had to be disinfected, meet certain hygiene standards, ensure good ventilation, monitor visitors’ temperature, and control the number of passengers or visitors at a given period of time.
Government services were provided online and through prior reservation, non-physical-contact delivery or services were extended, people were encouraged to stay at home and work from home, and businesses were encouraged to telecommute – all these measures effectively reduced population flows and public gatherings. Clear signs urging people to maintain at least one meter of distance and avoid close contact could be seen in all public places.
Strict health and quarantine measures were enforced at points of entry and exit across China to prevent inbound and outbound spread of the virus. The strictest-ever measures were applied at border control to suspend non-urgent and nonessential outbound travel by Chinese citizens.
The community-based line of defense was well guarded.Communities and villages made up the first line of defense in epidemic prevention and control, a major barrier to inbound cases and local transmission. They served as the mainstay in China’s Covid-19 response. Residents and villagers were mobilized to help manage communities. Strict access control and grid-based management were exercised in communities, and human and material resources were channeled down to the community level to reinforce implementation of targeted measures. Task forces comprising both full-time and part-time community workers were set up, while officials at the sub-district/township and community/village levels, health workers of community medical facilities, and family doctors all performed their duties as a team. Through all these efforts, communities and villages were turned into strongholds, securing full implementation of response measures down to the lowest level.
To deal with the four categories of vulnerable people, a number of measures were taken in accordance with the law, such as tracing, registering, and visiting each individual, placing them under community management, and transferring them, if necessary, to designated medical facilities for quarantine or treatment as per due procedures. Community actions were taken to keep local areas in good condition and promote health education.
In Wuhan, rigorous 24-hour access control was enforced in all residential communities. No residents were allowed to leave and no non-residents allowed to access the community area other than for essential medical needs or epidemic control operations. Community workers were responsible for the purchase and delivery of daily necessities according to residents’ needs. This approach was also applied in communities and villages in other parts of China, where all residents had to register and undergo temperature checking when leaving or entering the residential area or village.
Education programs were conducted to raise public awareness of the need for personal protection and enhance the sense of social responsibility. People observed self-quarantine at home and 14-day self-isolation after cross-region travel. They strictly followed personal protection measures such as wearing a mask when going out, maintaining proper social distancing, avoiding crowds, frequent handwashing, and regular ventilation. The tradition of the Patriotic Public Health Campaign which was initiated in the 1950s, with an emphasis on sanitation and personal hygiene, was also encouraged, along with a healthy, environment-friendly lifestyle .