In December 2019, an outbreak of pneumonia cases (severe acute respiratory syndrome) occurred in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The cause of the outbreak was found to be an infection from a novel coronavirus, which is supposed to have been transmitted from wild animals to humans. Since, the virus was novel and no anti-viral vaccine and drugs were available, by then the virus largely spread across China and probably abroad before the lockdown of Coronavirus epicenter (Wuhan and other cities in Hubei) in 23-Jan-2020. Additionally, large mass movements during Chinese New Year and spring festival holidays over China stimulated the epidemic. On February 12, 2020, WHO officially named the disease caused by the novel coronavirus as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and later at 12 March 2020 it announced COVID-19 outbreak as pandemic. By now the global spread of COVID-19 has resulted in the global crisis, however, China has effectively controlled the pandemic with a wise decision and a series of collective prompt actions from central, provincial and local governments. Author witnessed that the citizens with high confidence, hope and discipline strictly followed their government spontaneously to contain the spread of virus and for diagnosis and treatment. The lockdown of the epicenter was a boon to the global countries, otherwise, it would have resulted in worst global pandemic than observed now. Lockdown and self-quarantine in China not only helped to seize the spread of virus but it precisely aided the officials to isolate the people with viral symptoms (dry cough, fever and chest pain), diagnose and treat them— the repeated process significantly dropped the number of cases and finally seized the pandemic. The ability of China to build the hospitals in Wuhan within a short time astonished the world, which proves the responsibility of government towards its people. A series of effective response and measures to control and seize the pandemic by China is shown in flowchart below.
To deaccelerate the spread of virus, spring festival holidays were extended, and universities and research institutes were closed until further notice. Author supposed that the regular university classes and research activities will be suspended, which may affect the academic calendar, but this did not happen. International College-University of Chinese Academy of Sciences and research institutes greatly dealt to contain virus and keep the health records of students daily. Additionally, the officials from IC-UCAS and, professors and educational department from research institutes managed their time to resolve the queries and panic of students and activated the emergency services. Students seeking permission were allowed to travel their home country with their own risk but with high precautions. Masks and hand sanitizers were distributed to students. Author witnessed the regular temperature checkup for all students in the dormitory, institute and universities. UCAS and research institutes managed to disinfect their premises. In nutshell, all students whether inside or outside China were given due attention and care. In due time, when all students were found safe and secure, IC-UCAS initiated the regular courses as online, while research institutes held regular research group meetings through apps, where students can login and attend the meeting online. Research institutes, for instance, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS, Chengdu has managed the online system, where the final year masters and doctorate students outside China can attend their thesis pre-defense on-time. The simple flowchart of the processes followed by IC-UCAS is shown below. However, in this high-time, research students are given flexibility to choose whether to graduate on-time or on next authorized date. Excellent Chinese governance, utilization of science and technology along with high cooperation from citizens jointly helped China to cope with the pandemic. Meanwhile, universities through technology has been able to maintain their regular schedule. Once again, China has again proved to handle the pandemic and maintain the regular normal life. In this COVID-19 pandemic, isn’t it good to follow and learn lesson from China and IC-UCAS to contain COVID-19 and maintain academic calendar, respectively?
Author: Nitesh Khadka (PhD student, UCAS)
Institute: Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu, China