Monday March 30, 2020
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China to advocate ‘one couple, two children’ policy

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Beijing: Chinese lawmakers consider amending the family planning law to allow couples to have two children amid efforts to counter shrinkage of the workforce and an ageing population.

“The State advocates that one couple can give birth to two children,” Xinhua cited a draft amendment submitted for review at the bi-monthly session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee which opened on Monday.

The draft came after the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee decided in October to give the go ahead for the universal two-child rule, which will replace the decades-long “one couple, one child” policy.

Li Bin, head of National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC), said the CPC’s decision was made to adapt to the transition of China’s population from young to old currently underway.

In order to implement the decision, the top legislature must amend the family planning law which took effect in 2002.

Under the current law, citizens who marry late and delay childbearing may be entitled to longer nuptial and maternity leaves. Couples who volunteer to have only one child in their lifetime enjoy rewards.

The articles were deleted in the draft, implying the new law will likely take effect on January 1, 2016.

The amendment will not affect the welfare enjoyed by the elderly whose family abides by the current family planning law, parents who have only one child and parents whose only child is disabled or deceased.

While clarifying the draft, Li said people who have been receiving rewards and assistance before the law was amended will continue to receive it afterwards.

The draft also allows couples of a reproductive age to make their own choice whether to adopt contraceptive methods. It no longer stipulates that couples shall accept technical services and guidance for family planning.

Medical institutes will also be able to employ assisted reproductive technology after being authorised based on their personnel, facilities and ethical management, according to the draft.

The trade of sperm, ovum and embryo are forbidden. Surrogate pregnancy in any form is not allowed. Those involved in such actions would receive punishment ranging from warnings and fines to criminal penalties, according to the draft.

China’s family planning policy was first introduced in the 1970s to rein in the surging population.

Since its implementation, the policy has resulted in an estimated reduction of some 400 million people in China, but it was also blamed for generating a number of social problems, mainly a decreasing labour force and an ageing population.

In 2013, China relaxed its birth rules, allowing couples to qualify for a second birth if one of the partners was an only child.

The one-child policy was abandoned at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee held in October this year.

The change of policy is intended to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population, according to a communique issued after the key meeting.

Experts believe that being able to have two children will benefit about 100 million families around the country.

The change in policy is expected to mean over 30 million more people in the labour force by 2050 and a decrease of two percentage points in the share of elderly of the Chinese population, said Wang Peian, deputy head of the NHFPC, in a press conference held in November.

The total population will slightly increase, with its peak reached at 1.45 billion in 2029, Wang said.

The adopting of the two-child policy is also expected to boost China’s economic growth rate by about 0.5 percent, he said.(IANS)

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Lying Face Down Improves Breathing in Severe COVID-19 Cases: Study

Chinese researchers find out how lying face down improves breathing in severe cases

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COVID-19
Chinese researchers have found that lying face down is beneficial and improves breathing in severe cases of COVID-19. Pixabay

In order to fight novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has killed more than 16,000 people globally, Chinese researchers have found that lying face down is beneficial and improves breathing in severe cases of COVID-19.

The study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, revealed that lying face down was better for the lungs in patients with severe COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) hospitalised on ventilators.

“This study is the first description of the behaviour of the lungs in patients with severe COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation and receiving positive pressure,” said study researcher Haibo Qiu from Southeast University in China.

“It indicates that some patients do not respond well to high positive pressure and respond better to prone positioning in bed (facing downward),” Qiu added. The retrospective study consisted of 12 patients in Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital in China, with severe COVID-19 infection-related acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) who were assisted by mechanical ventilation.

A majority of patients admitted to the ICU with confirmed COVID-19 developed ARDS, the study said. According to the researchers, the observational study took place during a six-day period the week of February 18. The clinicians in Wuhan used an index, the Recruitment-to-Inflation ratio, that measures the response of lungs to pressure (lung recruit ability). According to the findings, the research team developed this index prior to this study.

COVID-19
The lung improves when the patient is in a prone position. Considering this can be done, it is important for the management of patients with severe COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation. Pixabay

The researchers assessed the effect of body positioning. Prone positioning was performed for 24-hour periods in which patients had persistently low levels of blood oxygenation. Oxygen flow, lung volume and airway pressure were measured by devices on patients’ ventilators. Other measurements were taken, including the aeration of their airway passages and calculations were done to measure recruit ability.

Seven patients received at least one session of prone positioning. Three patients received both prone positioning and ECMO (life support, replacing the function of heart and lungs). Three patients died, the researchers said.

Patients who did not receive prone positioning had poor lung recruit ability, while alternating supine (face upward) and prone positioning was associated with increased lung recruit ability, they added.

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“It is only a small number of patients, but our study shows that many patients did not re-open their lungs under high positive pressure and may be exposed to more harm than benefit in trying to increase the pressure,” said study researcher Chun Pan, Professor with Zhongda Hospital.

“By contrast, the lung improves when the patient is in a prone position. Considering this can be done, it is important for the management of patients with severe COVID-19 requiring mechanical ventilation,” Pan added. (IANS)