CDC Responds to Spike in Respiratory Illnesses – Updates to Mask Guidelines

Now Shenzhen   |   December 11, 2023

THE Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) released the latest guidelines for the public’s use of masks Saturday as hospitals throughout China intensified efforts to tackle the surge in respiratory illnesses.

Simplifying processes and reducing patients’ waiting time is a common strategy adopted by hospitals nationwide. Other measures include extending operating hours on weekdays and establishing dedicated sections for pediatric services.

These measures came as China’s top health authority required localities to “exhaust all means” to increase pediatric service capacity and stock up on pediatric medications and relevant medical materials to cope with the spike in respiratory illnesses among children. In addition to addressing immediate healthcare needs, there is a growing focus on preventive measures for respiratory diseases and winter health practices.

World Health Organization (WHO) said it received data from China that indicates the increases in outpatient visits and hospital visits can be attributed to a rise in known, existing pathogens. Specifically, there has been an increase in pneumonia due to the bacteria Mycoplasma pneumoniae since May, and a rise in influenza, adenovirus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since October. The spikes are “not unexpected given the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, as similarly experienced in other countries,” according to WHO.

The China CDC said mandatory mask-wearing scenarios include:

● Individuals infected with respiratory infectious diseases such as COVID-19, influenza, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and respiratory syncytial virus, when entering indoor public spaces or coming into close contact with others (distance less than 1 meter).

● Individuals experiencing symptoms of respiratory infectious diseases, including fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, when entering indoor public spaces or having close contact with others.

● When visiting medical institutions for treatment, accompanying patients, or for caregiving and visiting purposes.

● During periods of high prevalence of respiratory infectious diseases, when people enter vulnerable locations such as nursing homes, social welfare institutions, and childcare facilities.

● During periods of high prevalence of respiratory infectious diseases, personnel in key institutions like nursing homes, social welfare institutions, childcare facilities, and schools.

ARTICLE FROM Shenzhen Daily