China’s Success In Controlling COVID-19 An “Inspiring Message” For World: Israeli Expert

China, which is the most severely hit country by the virus, has almost succeeded in stopping the epidemic nearly two months after its outbreak, says a renowned Israeli medical expert.
14 Mar 2020 08:38
China’s Success In Controlling COVID-19 An “Inspiring Message” For World: Israeli Expert
A woman wearing mask is seen at a supermarket in Modiin, central Israel, March 13, 2020. (Xinhua/Gil Cohen Magen)

China’s success in controlling the spread of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus, is an “inspiring message” for the rest of world, a renowned Israeli medical expert told Xinhua in a recent interview.

Arnon Afek, deputy director general of Sheba Medical Center in Israel, noted that China, which is the most severely hit country by the virus, has almost succeeded in stopping the epidemic nearly two months after its outbreak.

“We do hope that this message can come to the rest of the world and tell us how we should react in such a situation,” said Afek, who was director general of the Israeli Ministry of Health before taking the position in the Israeli largest hospital.

Sheba Medical Center, located in Tel Hashomer in central Israel, is the first hospital in the country to accept coronavirus-exposed patients.

A total of 34 Israelis tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 143.

“We want to learn (from China) how to treat them, how to do the isolation properly, and how to put up the protective garments as safely as it can be done,” Afek said.

He lauded China for acting quickly to contain the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease unknown before the end of 2019.

China quickly quarantined people at the center of the outbreak, namely Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province, and built two large hospitals “in a speed that I don’t think any other country in the world could achieve,” Afek noted.

Even the the World Health Organization praised the way the Chinese people dealt with the epidemic, he said.

 “It’s important that all the countries will learn from what the Chinese did,” he said.

 Talking about the situation in Israel, Afek said that the number of COVID-19-infected patients will increase in the coming days or weeks, but the country “will be able to control the situation.”

As part of the efforts to contain the spread of the virus, Israel has imposed strict travel restrictions, suspended schools, and limited size of public gatherings.

Afek mentioned that the Sheba Medical Center has maintained a close relationship with some hospitals in China. He also said that he has been reading the papers published by Chinese scientists and physicians on the epidemic.

“We are learning all the time,” he said. “Chinese scientists and physicians publish a lot of papers in the international media, which is very constructive for us because we can learn from the Chinese experience.”

“We know today that quick response and taking the right measures is the right way,” he said.

Sheba Medical Center has built the COVID-19 treatment ward outside of the main hospital area, to keep a safe distance from other patients. Other hospitals in Israel have visited the center to learn about the treatment of the patients infected by the novel coronavirus.

In order to timely monitor patients’ health situation and maximize the protection of the medical staff, the center has established a remote-control room using the telemedicine technologies.

The COVID-19 patients inside the special ward are monitored with advanced sensors that measure remotely many vital signs, including the heartbeat, breath and fever degree.

Robots are also used to take the patients’ measures, picture them, and tell the physicians and nurses in the control room about their health situation. If needed, doctors wearing protective gears will go inside the isolated rooms to treat the patients, Afek explained.

“The idea is to lower the exposure of our medical team to the patients and get as much needed data through electronic records,” he said.

Afek highlighted the importance of increasing international cooperation in fighting the raging epidemic, citing that today’s world is a “global village,” where people should learn from each other and share the information and data on coping with the threats to human security.

 On the efforts to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 by some countries, Afek said Israel is also doing the same and is willing to help other countries, pharmaceutical companies and labs in this regard.

 “It’s important for the entire world to collaborate and work together to create the best solution for (overcoming) this epidemic,” he said.

Afek, who has visited China for many times, said he was happy to see the success achieved by China in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and resuming normal life.

Afek hoped that he would visit China again as quickly as possible. “I’m already looking forward to that,” he said.

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