In order to protect people from flu, ensure sustainable economic development and maintain social stability, Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, issued its influenza pandemic preparedness plan on Wednesday, which enumerates four tiers of emergency levels.
For the first and highest level, the city will expand its epidemic monitoring scale, focus on collecting and reporting the number of hospital visits, hospitalizations, critical cases and deaths.
It will optimize medical resources by opening general hospitals and grassroots medical institutions for suspected cases. In the event, wards are insufficient, so public spaces like hotels, restaurants and stadiums will be made into temporary treatment facilities.
It will also meet basic medical service needs of other acute and critical patients, those who need regular treatment and key groups such as the pregnant, children and the elderly.
Based on the epidemic condition, the city can lock down infected areas, carry out traffic quarantines and suspend production and business activities. Shopping malls, theaters, libraries, museums, tourist attractions and other crowded places will also be closed.
At this emergency level, schools and nurseries at all levels would be shut down and be made responsible for tracking students' and infants' health conditions.
As Xi'an is a city of more than 10 million, the plan has attracted attention from experts.
Zeng Guang, former chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said monitoring should be carried out globally.
"Faced with influenza, what we need is a national and global plan, rather than a regional plan because it is not a regional disease. A country may have more than a thousand monitoring sites. We should carry out disease monitoring at a global scale," Zeng said. "Unlike bird flu, influenza mainly infects people. We should make different plans according to varied infectious diseases."
Many parts of China have recorded rising flu cases, and experts expect this phase to last for several weeks.
However, the scale of the flu epidemic would not be greater than that of the same period of time before the COVID-19 pandemic, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said previously.
Clinical doctors have alerted the public of potential serious flu cases, some of whom present a "white lung" on a CT scan. Performing personal hygiene like wearing a mask in public and seeking timely medical intervention has been strongly recommended.