Traditional Chinese Medicine and AI Technology Helped Us Fight COVID-19, Says Chinese Consul General



A combination of traditional Chinese medicine, artificial intelligence (AI) -based technology, the deployment of hundreds of thousands of additional staff, a robust party mechanism supported by leadership have helped China fight COVID-19, Chinese Consul General in Kolkata Zha Liyou said.

Since the December outbreak, Zha and his colleagues in Calcutta, the closest among Indian metropolitan cities in Hubei province where the first cases were reported, have been monitoring the situation closely. Mr. Zha says that “the situation is under control”.

“The significant symbol of the improvement is that traffic jams are back in major cities like Shanghai or Beijing,” Zha said.

In China – as in many parts of the world – the coastal areas in the east or southeast of China are more prosperous than the landlocked areas in the west and therefore the majority of migrant workers usually move from there. west to east or south to work. They traveled to their homes in western or central regions to celebrate the Chinese New Year in February and their return to work was delayed due to the COVID outbreak.

“But for the past week or two, workers have been back in great numbers; about 70% in large manufacturing and infrastructure projects and about 30-35% in small and medium enterprises, ”he said.

“Industry and government have chartered high-speed trains, planes and point-to-point buses to transport workers so that massive infrastructure projects – the backbone of China – and production can be facilitated. as quickly as possible. [since] we lost almost two months of production due to the New Year and Corona outbreak, ”said Mr. Zha, a diplomat specializing in business development. After the December outbreak, it took China about a month and a half to contain it.

“First, the neighborhoods were separated and the movement of people from one neighborhood to another was stopped. Thus, we were able to trace and identify contacts and confirmed cases, ”Zha said.

Intervention of the Communist Party

Another such non-medical intervention involved engaging the Communist Party’s strong grassroots networks of four million workers and volunteers, alongside health workers, to identify affected cases. Residents were also encouraged to report to hospital and self-quarantine, new hospitals were set up overnight to treat patients. In the next step, the technology was used to map the nature of patient movement.

“Once a person buys a high-speed train ticket, we know where the passenger got on and got off. We also used AI and robotics to map the confirmed patient’s routine and movements, then alerted others that if they boarded a particular train or bus with the identified patient, they were running a high risk of catching the disease and [they] should come to the hospital and many did, ”Zha said.

He believes that this combination of human effort and technology “can be explained to other countries, which could be beneficial” in the event of a global epidemic.

The role of traditional Chinese medicine

“We have widely used traditional Chinese medicine [TCM] and combined it with modern medicine and therapy to treat patients, ”Zha said.

Some of the best TCM research and education institutions have dispatched three national teams of 334 people to fight COVID-19. As of mid-February, 220 TCM professionals were based in Hubei alone. According to Xu Nanping, vice minister of science and technology, around 85% of patients received combined treatment with TCM and modern medicine. The experiment was a success, says Zha.

New cases have only come in the past two weeks and Dr Bruce Aylward of the World Health Organization (WHO), who visited the country with a team, said in an interview this week in New York. Times that “the rapidly escalating epidemic has stabilized and is descending faster” than expected and “hundreds of thousands” have not contracted Covid-19 due to the “aggressive response” from governments.

Zha “thanked” his friends in eastern India for their “support and interest in keeping up to date” with China.

“We have been monitoring the situation rigorously – using social media and personal contact – to give our friends a clear picture,” Zha noted.


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