BEIJING, April 13 (Xinhua) -- China has stepped up measures for detecting and managing people infected with the novel coronavirus but showing no symptoms, according to a circular issued by the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council.
Asymptomatic cases refer to those who do not show any self-perceived or clinically recognizable symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat but whose respiratory samples test positive for COVID-19, said the circular, noting that asymptomatic carriers are contagious with the risk of disease spreading.
To better address the concerns and threats posed by asymptomatic COVID-19 infections, the circular provides detailed guidance as follows for local governments and departments to better detect and manage the asymptomatic carriers.
Since April 1, the National Health Commission has started to incorporate information on asymptomatic cases in its daily report.
As of Sunday, a total of 1,064 asymptomatic cases, including 307 from abroad, were still under medical observation, the commission said in its daily report.
Management Standards for Asymptomatic Carriers of COVID-19
Intensify the monitoring and detection of asymptomatic carriers with proactive nucleic acid tests for: (1) people under medical observation due to close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients; (2) COVID-19 clusters under investigations; (3) people who were traced to have been exposed to sources of COVID-19 infection; (4) people who had a history of travel or residence in the COVID-19 outbreak areas home or abroad; (5) people who were identified in epidemiological investigations and opportunistic screenings.
Standardize the reporting of asymptomatic carriers. Medical and health institutions at all levels and of all kinds shall report asymptomatic carriers they have identified directly through online platforms within two hours.
Upon receiving the report of asymptomatic carriers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the county level shall complete case investigation within 24 hours and have the people in close contact with asymptomatic carriers registered in time. The case investigation form or investigation report shall be timely reported through infectious disease report and information management system. After asymptomatic carries are discharged from the concentrated quarantine, medical and health institutions shall timely fill in the date of such discharge in the report and information management system for infectious diseases.
Strengthen information disclosure. Administrative health departments under the State Council shall release information on asymptomatic carriers on a daily basis, including the report of new cases, updates, and management. Provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) shall release relevant information in their respective administrative regions, and make separate statistical reports on local transmission and overseas import.
Step up the management of asymptomatic carriers. Asymptomatic carriers should subject to 14-day concentrated medical observation. Those who show clinical symptoms during the quarantine shall be re-categorized as confirmed cases. The quarantine can be lifted for those who have been concentratedly quarantined for 14 days and tested negative for two nucleic acid tests (minimum interval of sampling time shall be at least 24 hours). If the result of the nucleic acid test is still positive, the quarantine shall be continued.
The asymptomatic carriers who show clinical symptoms during concentrated medical observation shall be immediately transferred to designated medical institutions for standard treatment, and their information shall be revised after they are re-categorized as confirmed cases.
People in close contact with asymptomatic carriers shall be subject to concentrated medical observation for 14 days.
Organize expert group to conduct ward rounds for asymptomatic carriers under concentrated quarantine to timely identify possible confirmed cases.
Asymptomatic carriers who have been discharged from concentrated quarantine shall continue to be subject to a 14-day medical observation and follow-up checks. They shall go to designated hospitals for follow-up checks in the 2nd and 4th weeks after concentrated quarantine is lifted to timely make known their health status.
Intensify targeted screening, and expand the scale of screening to include people in close contact with confirmed cases and asymptomatic cases. Strengthen the monitoring of key areas, key groups and key places. Those being identified as asymptomatic carriers shall be concentratedly quarantined.
Asymptomatic carriers feature anonymity of transmission, subjectivity in symptoms and limitations for detection. The State gives support in conducting scientific researches on the infectiousness, transmissibility, and epidemiology of asymptomatic carriers.
Strengthen communication and cooperation with relevant countries and international organizations including the World Health Organization to adjust medical treatment and prevention and control measures in due course.
All regions shall step up their efforts to promote the popularization of COVID-19 related knowledge, guide the public in adopting scientific COVID-19 prevention measures, and conduct extensive training to improve the prevention and control capacity of staff at grassroots medical and health institutions and of community staff.
(Edited by Niu Huizhe with Xinhua Silk Road, email@example.com)