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Senior Chinese doctor: Ending lockdown not dependent on mass testing

Professor Rongmeng Jiang, a senior Chinese doctor who helped manage the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, says that the patient’s age is not the most important factor in how he will manage coronavirus – and that mass testing is not a solution for lockdown.

According to Israel Hayom, Rongmeng said that the lifting of Wuhan’s hermetic lockdown will begin next week and continue gradually – two-and-a-half months after it began.

It will still be forbidden to move between different quarters of the city, and citizens will still be required to wear masks. Family visits by those who have recovered will still be limited, and restaurants and places of entertainment will remain closed.

Workplaces will be open, but required to adhere to strict distancing rules between employees, and employees will only be allowed to come to work if they do not show any symptoms of coronavirus.

It is estimated that Wuhan schools will reopen in the fall, while Beijing schools are expected to reopen in July. China will still not allow people to eat in cafeterias in the army or factories, in order to avoid large gatherings.

Rongmeng passed this information on to the National Information Center for Battling Coronavirus in Sheba Medical Center, which operations in cooperation with the Health Ministry and security organizations.

The conversation between Rongmeng and Rambam Medical Center’s Dr. Michael Roimi took place with the help of a translator and presented a unique opportunity to receive important information regarding the Chinese coronavirus outbreak, which helps the Health Ministry plan for Israel’s management of its outbreak.

Israel Hayom quoted Rongmeng as saying that “no testing of the population was conducted in the city – not at the beginning of the pandemic, and not currently, when the lockdown is being gradually lifted.”

“Only the patients themselves, and their families, were tested, and in accordance with the results of the test, it was decided what steps should be taken, such as isolation and hospitalization.” Prisoners were tested, he said, after they rioted at the beginning of the outbreak.

“The virus will remain with us for a long period of time, and so China has decided not to remain in full lockdown for an extended period, and to begin lifting the lockdown gradually, so that even if there are patients, it will be a controlled number who we are able to treat.”

He also said that 20% of coronavirus patients need hospitalization, and 5% require intensive care. At the beginning of the outbreak, the number of deaths reached 50-60%, and seriously ill patients remained in the hospital for six to eight weeks. There are also patients who have been in intensive care for two months and are still fighting for their lives, he added.

Patients who were hospitalized were not sent home immediately, Rongmeng added.

Instead, they were sent to a hotel for two weeks, after which they underwent two tests for coronavirus. If both tests were negative, the patients were released home. However, 20% of these patients still tested positive for coronavirus, and “despite the fact that they seem not to present a danger of contagion, in order to be certain, it was decided that they would remain under self-quarantine for another 14 days, and before their release would undergo another two coronavirus tests.”

Header: a military medic from the Air Force Medical University prepares to leave for Wuhan from Xi’an, capital of northwestern China’s Shaanxi Province. Xinhua agency.