Photo taken on August 9 shows a parent and his child watching paintings at an COVID-19 fight-themed exhibition of fine arts in the National Museum of China. (Photo by Chen Xiaogen/People’s Daily Online)
By Zhong Nanshan
People’s safety is the cornerstone of national security, and human health is the foundation of the progress in the civilization of a society.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), in the face of the unexpected COVID-19 epidemic, took the overall situation into account, made resolute decisions, and insisted on putting people’s lives and health first.
Thanks to the concerted, all-out efforts made by the Chinese people, China has achieved another heroic feat in humankind’s fight against disease by securing major strategic achievements in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.
At present, China has basically resumed the normal work and living order and realized regular epidemic prevention and control, which is a miracle.
Looking back at the arduous struggle of the Chinese people against the novel coronavirus, a lot of heart-touching facts and details have demonstrated China’s people-first philosophy and sense of mission and responsibility that makes it always put people’s lives first.
As Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC, has stressed, “We are willing to protect people’s lives and health at all costs”.
No efforts were spared when it came to saving lives, be it a 30-hour-old baby or a centenarian.
China has made all-out efforts to pool the best medical workers, urgently needed resources, and advanced equipment to save lives.
All possible diagnosis and treatment plans were employed to cure as many COVID-19 patients as possible, and the cost was fully covered by the state.
It has been a general consensus among the Chinese people that we do everything possible to save every single life in this battle against the COVID-19.
Putting people first and giving top priority to people’s lives has been the distinctive feature of China’s fight against the pandemic.
People have entrusted their lives and health to medical workers. The responsibility has not only become medical workers’ driving force for marching forward bravely in response to sudden public health crises, but constantly reminded them that they are the last line of defense in humanity’s fight against diseases as well as the most important guards of lives.
The fight against the COVID-19 has made it clearer that the top priority of public health and medical workers is always ensuring the health and safety of all people across the country whether in front of acute infectious diseases or frequently encountered and common chronic diseases as well as chronic diseases that do great harm to people.
Life is precious, and we only live once.
“Putting people’s lives first” serves as a crucial principle that helps China secure major strategic achievements in the fight against the epidemic. It is mirrored in the fact that China has focused efforts on epidemic prevention nationwide and prevented the virus from spreading across the country.
In this way, China has managed to keep the scope of the spread of the virus and the number of confirmed cases under control. Had the virus been allowed to spread, China wouldn’t have successfully brought the pandemic under control later, no matter what good treatment methods may be available.
Of course, China’s success in preventing the spread of the epidemic came at a price. China imposed outbound travel restrictions in Wuhan, capital city of central China’s Hubei province and once the epicenter of the pandemic, and other parts of the province, and implemented unprecedentedly strict traffic control to curb the spread of the virus.
In an effort to effectively bring the pandemic under control in a country with 1.4 billion people, China pressed the “pause button” in its megacity Wuhan and paid a heavy price.
It is a price China must pay and a price worth paying, for people’s lives are always the top priority. We can always make up for economic losses but can never bring lives back.
Science and technology should play a big role in our efforts to adhere to the “people first, life first” principle.
Science and technology are sharp weapons in humanity’s battle against diseases, Xi pointed out, saying that humanity can’t defeat a major disaster or epidemic without scientific development and technological innovation.
Innovation is the primary driving force for development, and science and technologies are powerful tools to overcome difficulties.
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China has secured steady growth in medical and health services.
Driven by scientific and technological innovation, the country has made remarkable achievements in various aspects of relevant fields, such as basic medicine, clinical medicine, preventive medicine, and traditional Chinese medicine. It is such achievements that have become powerful tools in combating the virus.
At present, China is giving full play to its new strategy of pooling nationwide resources for breakthroughs in core technologies, such as the research and development of COVID-19 vaccine, in which China is at the forefront globally.
We are confident of making progress in such fields as the research and development of testing methods, clinical treatment, and effective vaccines and drugs through our own efforts and international cooperation.
We will continue overcoming difficulties and solving problems along the way through
scientific and technological progress and provide strong sci-tech support for our practice of “people first, life first” principle.
(Zhong Nanshan is head of the high-level expert group of the National Health Commission of China, academician with the Chinese Academy of Engineering and respiratory professor at Guangzhou Medical University.)
Zhong Nanshan receives an interview with the People’s Daily in April. (Photo/People’s Daily)
Photo taken on September 8 shows an elementary school teacher in Yuquan district, Hohhot, north China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region, telling students the heroic stories about the efforts of Zhong Nanshan to combat the COVID-19 epidemic. (Photo by Ding Genhou/People’s Daily Online)