There are 55,000 working people per square kilometer and the ratio of Grade III Level A hospitals to the population is low in Shenzhen. Tang Jie, Former Vice Mayor of Shenzhen and Board Member of Shenzhen Finance Institute, believes that Shenzhen has successfully fought against the pandemic thanks to its strong ability of epidemiological information investigation, processing and tracking analysis, its public health response, and its decision-making efficiency. More investment is required in the future to develop more soft and hard infrastructures compatible with epidemic development.
Tang Jie pointed out that Shenzhen has achieved the same excellent results as most of the provinces and cities in the country in the fight against COVID-19. During the fight against the pandemic, Shenzhen presents some unique advantages and disadvantages, which can be summarized as "Four Highs, Three Lows and Two Advantages."
First, high population density. Shenzhen’s normal population density is 8000 people per square kilometer, which is among the highest in the world. Even in the middle of January, when the Spring Festival is approaching, its population density is still 6000-7000 people per square kilometer. Second, high population mobility. The proportion of its flowing population to the total population may be the highest in the world, including both inflows and outflows. There are usually 3 to 5 million outflows during holidays. Third, high concentration of economic activities. The five economic centers led by the high-tech zone only cover 13 square kilometers. Fourth, high population concentration. The total employment in 2018 has exceeded 730,000, with an employment density of 55,000 per square kilometer.
First, Shenzhen is an emerging, explosively growing mega city with a population averagely aged 34, but the number of Grade III Level A hospitals and its ratio to the population are rather low. Second, the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people in Shenzhen is also relatively low, unmatched with the counterparts of Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Guangzhou. It is also far lower than cities such as Wuhan, Hangzhou, and Chengdu. Third, the ability of gathering and training medical personnel is not outstanding either. There are fewer medical colleges and full-time medical academicians, and no nationally renowned medical research institutions.
On one hand, Shenzhen has a strong ability of epidemiological information investigation, processing and tracking analysis, and on the other hand, it has a sophisticated decision-making system and solid capability to deal with major emergencies.
Tang Jie summed up two points on how Shenzhen won the lead in the fight against the pandemic . The first is the epidemiological investigation and analysis of the infection mode and infection rate of the coronavirus. The second is the city's public health system and its ability to make overall decisions efficiently.
Prof. Tang Jie finally summarized five points: first, based on its special conditions, Shenzhen has been making efforts to develop CDC system and mechanism in a long term. Therefore, it has an outstanding ability of epidemiological investigation and prediction to quickly take actions and form a task force.
Second, the ability of epidemic investigation and prediction determines whether the public can obtain epidemic information sufficiently and effectively. The more comprehensive and effective the epidemic information is, the lower the impact of panic rumors will be and the stronger the credibility of the government will have. In fact, medical resources of Shenzhen are insufficient. However, when the coronavirus suddenly emerged at the same time as the seasonal flu incidence was increasing, there was no shortage of medical resources. The reasonable explanation is that the government provided sufficient and effective information about the pandemic.
Third, a sophisticated public health emergency system is needed to help a city response to a sudden outbreak. Although Shenzhen gained a success in the fight against the pandemic with limited medical supplies, more investment is needed in the future to develop more hard and soft infrastructures compatible with epidemic development .
Fourth, the effective transmission of information represents not only the behavior of the government to the public, but more importantly the multi-level vertical transmission of information among multiple government departments in a coordinated, accurate and timely way.
Fifth, under the conditions where information is provided sufficiently, the ability of making decisions, foresights and boldness are must-have for city’s leaders.