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Full Text: To Promote Building Community of Health by Fighting Epidemic

2020-04-18 16:36

    On April 19, 2020, the Politics, News, Top Stories sections of website of Media Information Agency of North Macedonia published a signed article by Ambassador Zhang Zuo with the title of "To Promote Building Community of Health by Fighting Epidemic with Digital Technology" in Macedonian, Albanian and English. Here is the full text.

    The outbreak of the COVID-19 in 2020 has become a great test for humanity in the era of globalization and an extreme stress test for digital governance. The international community has been confronting the COVID-19 for several months, making people more clearly see that digital technology has become necessary infrastructure for economic development and social governance. China has given full play to the digital technology in its fight against the epidemic. And this experience will strongly help promote building a global community of health.

    I. Fighting epidemic with digital technology helps China set a benchmark and provides a model for building a community of health. According to the experts of the World Health Organization, it was convenient and efficient for China to comprehensively employ big data, artificial intelligence, 5G and other technologies to realize online fever clinics, online diagnosis and treatment and “health codes" as certificate for uninfected people. The COVID-19 outbreak is a major public health emergency with the fastest spread and the widest range of infections, and has been the most difficult to prevent and control in China since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949.However, under the personal leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has established a unified and efficient command platform with the help of big data and formulated a regionally differentiated epidemic control strategy according to a region-specific and tiered approach. We carried out targeted epidemic control with big data, making full use of online resources and information tools for epidemic prevention and control, and established a comprehensive control system both online and offline.

    Cloud community, cloud computing, cloud prescription, cloud office, cloud classroom and lots of other applications have accelerated the arrival of "cloud era" in China. By building the world's largest and most extensive online direct reporting system, the so-called "unified management in one network", China is capable of early detection, early reporting, early quarantine, and early treatment. This improves social efficiency while ensures targeted epidemic control.

    Strengthen digital medical infrastructure. Based on the online platform, we have managed to realize targeted match of the supply and demand for medical supplies, highly efficient production, overall resources deployment and recycling management. The National Commission of Health, together with Chinese companies including Tencent and BAIDU, released a navigation map for COVID-19 designated hospitals and fever clinics.

    JD.com, Alibaba, Tencent, Ping An Good Doctor, Ding-Dang Express Doctor and other platforms have launched the "Free Online Clinic" service, providing online fever consultation, at-home protection, medical guidance, psychological counseling and other services.

    In fighting the epidemic, the internet giants made best use of their efficiency and flexibility. Undertaken functions similar to hardware of the infrastructure, they have played an important role in the frontline support, logistic support, and serving people's livelihood by offering information and product services, coordinating resources and providing big data and algorithm support.

    Owing to their assistance, Leishenshan (Thunder God Mountain) and Huoshenshan (Fire God Mountain) Hospitals in Wuhan could be built in 10 days by 20,000 people working around the clock, with every window installed in every ten seconds and a wall panel erected in every two minutes in average. It took merely 12 hours between making the decision and launching the actual construction, during which time, planning, organization, coordinating different processes and procedures were completed. Over 100 specialized hospitals or make-shift hospitals were built in China in this period.

    II. Fighting epidemic with digital technology helps promote international health cooperation, and paves the way for building a community of health. China is accelerating breakthroughs in medical technology and equipment, organizing IT companies and medical research institutions to jointly crack key issues, and establishing and improving disease prevention and control mechanisms. Chinese medical and scientific research personnel are racing against time to improve diagnosis and treatment measures, continuously raising the cure rate, and lowering the fatality rate. With China speed, China has gained valuable time for global epidemic prevention. With China strength, China has buttressed a solid line of defense to control the epidemic spread.

    Several weeks earlier, learning that China's medical supplies running low, many countries along the "Belt and Road Initiative” have offered assistance to China in many ways. Over 170 countries and 50 international and regional organizations as well as 300 foreign political parties have expressed condolences and support to China. As China's epidemic prevention and control efforts show a positive trend, and China's production gradually resumes, China has begun to donate medical supplies to other countries and send teams of medical experts. This is a vivid manifestation of building a community of mankind with a shared future.

    China pays intensive attention to deepening international health cooperation. China has shared with WHO and the world its scientific research and data, the virus gene sequence in record time, including nucleic acid detection primers and probe sequences, which is essential for producing test kits. China has arranged field investigations by China and WHO joint expert groups, which made constructive proposals for epidemic control in China and the world. China has carried out scientific research cooperation with relevant countries, especially those with high infection rate, in areas such as traceability, drugs, vaccines, and testing.

    China has provided aid to over 140 countries and international organizations including WHO, EU, and AU, and dispatched 17 teams of medical experts to 15 countries, including Italy, Russia Serbia, Cambodia and other countries. China has held over 70 video conferences of experts with international organizations and over 150 countries including the Central & Eastern European countries. China has established an online knowledge center for international COVID-19 prevention and control. China has published the version 7 Treatment Plan and the version 6 Prevention and Control Plan, so that countries around the world can adopt a differentiated strategy based on the progress and risk assessment of its epidemic situation without reinventing the wheel.

    III. Fighting epidemic with digital technology helps promote a healthy silk road, and draws a roadmap for building a community of health. China AI helps to build a healthy silk road. Back in 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping brought forward the vision of working together to create the "Healthy Silk Road". Parties committed to the joint construction of "Belt and Road" should also focus on international cooperation in public health. Now countries are working together to fight against the epidemic. China-Europe cargo trains have achieved growth even in the outbreak to continuously transport medical and basic supplies. China actively assists the “Belt and Road” countries in epidemic control with the help of the Digital Silk Road. The Customs Administration of China launched an APP with health declaration function upon border entry and exit. BAIDU Map, together with Shenzhen, Suzhou, Zhengzhou and other cities launched declaration service upon entry into the cities. The AI Diagnosis algorithm developed by Alibaba and BAIDU greatly reduced the time for genetic testing and virus structure analysis of suspected cases. BAIDU Research Institute contributed to improving global cooperation in public Health by opening for free its LinearFold and the fastest RNA structure prediction website to genetic testing institutions, disease control centers and scientific research centers around the world.

    Digital medical services have saved lives of thousands of miles away. This epidemic could be called an important turning point for 5G technology to enter the social medical service industry. 5G medical solutions have transformed from the "trial designing stage" to the "clinical application stage". Through this epidemic, the changes in China's medical industry, from policy support to consumer habits, all accelerated the development of the digital medical industry. Companies have developed remote diagnosis and treatment software to seamlessly connect distant doctors with patients and life data monitoring equipment through 5G, enabling remote diagnosis and treatment services. Relying on the negligible time-delay of 5G network, surgeons could operate digital intelligence surgical instruments to conduct remote surgery from thousands of miles away. The awareness and recognition for internet medical care have been greatly improved. At its core are services like online medical treatment, digital management of prescription and online insurance payment. Many hospitals and internet medical service platforms across China have opened online free consultations. Earlier discovery of suspected cases and pre-examination could be made. Online medical consultations and outpatient services have been quickly set up for many specialties such as respiratory medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and etc., effectively reducing number of patients going to hospital, thus giving full play to the active role of remote medical services in epidemic prevention and control.

    IV.Fighting epidemic with digital technology helps promote the online service network, and provides a new platform for building a community of health. The urgent needs for digital technology to fight epidemic spurs the growth of both ends of a digitalized market, boosting the digitalization of services and products. A new biology of myriad platforms that are dedicated to the online industries is born. This new model of contactless shopping and entertainment is taking shape. People’s needs for essential supplies and spiritual nutrients are met.

    In this fight, 31 provinces and autonomous regions in China have launched First-level Emergency Response. Thanks to the highly developed delivery system with digital technology as its foundation, online shopping remains extremely convenient. People quickly adapted to the lives in a lockdown. In 2019, China's E-retail sales have reached RMB 10.6 trillion (around USD 1.5 trillion), an increase of 16.5% compared with 2018. This new consumption model featured by online shopping and services has shown strong vitality during the epidemic.

    E-platforms for online shopping of fresh goods, food and delivery services have managed to operate normally. Even during lockdown, those E-platforms made sure that food and daily necessities were delivered within 30 minutes after PAYMENT button was tapped on mobile phones, which guaranteed continuous daily supplies for medical staff as well as the general public. The demand for remote office operations grows rapidly. Online office, video conference, E-signing, cloud drive, online account & contracts management and staff training ensure the business as usual despite the suspension of physical operations during the epidemic.

    Digital technology improves efficiency of fighting the epidemic. AI, big data, 5G and other technologies are used to speed up the process of virus detection and diagnosis, R&D of vaccines and new medicines, disease control and prevention as well as clinical treatment. Over 20 AI systems are used at the frontline of fighting epidemic in Wuhan, Hubei Province and hundreds of hospitals across the country, serving suspected and confirmed cases.

    In terms of improving the efficiency of temperature measurement screening, the contactless AI temperature measurement system based on image recognition and infrared imaging technology can make quick screening of people with abnormal temperature. It is widely used in public places like subways, railway stations, airports. As for early warning system for tracking virus, the UMETRIP promptly developed an APP launched on January 30th that automatically sent notifications to users when their same flight passengers had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

    Three major telecom operators in China, namely CHINA TELECOM, CHINA MOBILE and CHINA UNICOM, have launched the "travel information checking" service, which allows mobile phone users to check their itinerary for the past 14 days. TENCENT, BAIDU and other Internet platforms have developed a model that enhances situation awareness of the movement of people. It offers reference to predict epidemic development by tracking traveling of crowds, to give early warnings and situation analyses.

    V. Fighting epidemic with digital technology helps promote harmonious co-existence within a society, and gives new experience for building a community of health.

    During this fight, the government, society, companies as well as every participant online and offline have created a new type of harmonious co-existence, providing new experiment for digital global governance. In terms of science awareness-raising and medical guidance, several free online consultation platforms for fighting the epidemic have been launched by Chinese enterprises, including the General Hospital on Internet by WeDoctor, Online Medical Consultation Platform for Overseas Chinese by Alibaba Health, Free Medical Care Platform by BAIDU.

    Alibaba Cloud has opened its COVID-19 AI diagnostic technology for free to hospitals worldwide. More than 160 hospitals in China are accessible to this service. It is also available for 63 areas in 21 geographical regions, covering over 200 countries and regions. Many APPs offer facts and must-knows about the COVID-19. Alibaba, the Internet giant based in Hangzhou city, has developed mobile phone Mini program called “Yuhang (an urban district of Hangzhou) Epidemic Map”. This map reminds people of risks in their surroundings by showing number of confirmed cases and suspected cases within 1 km of their location in real time. Alibaba has also developed the first health code in China, called“Green Code for Yuhang Region”. Then all other provinces launched their own health codes systems in 7 days. At present, health codes have gained access in most regions of China. Overseas Chinese who returned to China during the epidemic can also apply for the health codes, which provide communication services for them during their stay in China.

    Integrating resources by leveraging big data is necessary to connect data islands. China always adheres to people-centered governance, promoting positive interaction among all elements of a society with digital technology.

    Since the outbreak, China has established connection between data islands through big data mining, in order to provide reference for making decisions and improve access to official information as well as to publicize scientific knowledge for fighting epidemic. From the central to the local governments, measures have been put forward to support cooperation between government agencies and digital platforms, and to promote data sharing among all parties.

    The National Administration Service Platform has put online epidemic prevention and control contents on WeChat platforms, Alipay mini programs and other major platforms. On mini programs of State Council APP, there is a set of services, from inquiry for collecting epidemic-related information, searching fever clinic and designated hospital for medical treatment, to the latest prevention & control information by the State Council. Such integration efforts have vastly expedited useful information to reach the general public.

    Visualization of epidemic-related information is also important. BAIDU Map has launched COVID-19 distribution map, which combines optional voice notification for epidemic prevention inspection developed by the Traffic Safety Research Center of the Ministry of Public Security, and navigation function of epidemic prevention checkpoints operated by the local governments. These functions help to enhance health and safety of traffic police, epidemic prevention inspectors and drivers.

    VI. Fighting epidemic with digital technology helps to promote policy communication, and explores a new approach to build a community of health. Applying digital technology improves the level of social governance by docking government data with data from other platforms, realizing data sharing, business collaboration and service optimization. During the epidemic, the COVID-19 Close Contacts Meter APP, jointly developed by the E-Government Office of the State Council, the National Health Commission and the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, provides online inquiry to allow the public to check if they have been close contacts to the confirmed patients. The "Internet + Supervision" platform ran by the State Council collects epidemic prevention leads and suggestions from the entire society, implementing its monitoring function. With the help of technology and service capabilities of digital platforms such as Alibaba, local governments have used technological means to fight against the epidemic and ensure orderly resumption of business. Administration Service Robots and AI Access Control Systems developed by companies like JD.com and Tencent, have played a rather satisfactory role in improving the efficiency and reliability of epidemic control. Emergency public service platforms developed jointly by the government and companies such as Tencent, Alibaba and JD.com have managed to integrate epidemic-related information. Zhejiang Online government platform, the Zhejiang version of APP Ding Talk, has become a great support for the epidemic prevention on provincial level. Jointly developed by Alipay and Ding Talk, China’s first mini program for community-level epidemic prevention and control helps create a contactless community.

    Fighting epidemic with digital technology helps improve institutions on digital security. Privacy and security of data is the key to the sustainable and healthy development of the digital economy. China attaches great importance to raise awareness of data security, and is proactively building the institutions on data security. It focuses on reinforcing personal information protection during analysis and utilization of communication big data, and process of data masking in every procedure of data usage, including in data circulation.

    The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress has approved draft provisions on personality rights in the Civil Code. The draft clearly regulates the collection and processing of personal information of natural persons and requires “consent of the natural person or his guardian”. It also includes strong protection of personal biometric information. The Cyperspace Administration of China has issued the Regulations on the Protection of Children's Personal Online Information, requiring enterprises to enhance information protection. For example, in addition to protection of its own information security, the App Ding Talk also encrypts the third-party information. Dual encryption protects the security and credit of both enterprises and their users. Enduring the test of fight against the epidemic, China will guarantee the smooth development of digital technology by improving relevant laws and regulations, reinforcing technological prevention, strengthening privacy protection and other aspects.

    Science and technology knows no national borders. Technology holds no political opinions. The adoption of digital technology to fight the epidemic, not only helps China to make positive progress in epidemic prevention and control, but also support the world in overcoming the epidemic, so as to contributing to building a community of health for mankind.

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