BEIJING, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Chinese health authorities stressed the importance of staying calm and optimistic amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, saying a positive and confident attitude offers the greatest protection in such hard times.
"We must be confident that the current measures of preventing and controlling the outbreak will work effectively, and we must believe in ourselves and our immunity," said Wang Bin, an official with the National Health Commission (NHC) at a press briefing Monday.
The NHC has issued a guideline on the psychological crisis intervention work amid the epidemic, said Wang, noting that the authorities understand the growing public need for psychological help as the outbreak develops.
The overall confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection on the Chinese mainland had reached 17,205 by the end of Sunday, and a total of 361 people had died of the disease, according to the commission.
Wang said people can call the psychological counseling hotlines and learn about how to conduct psychological self-help on the website and mobile app of the NHC.
Chen Xuefeng, with the Institute of Psychology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, suggested that people should limit their outings or gatherings with others, which is an effective way to prevent further spread of the disease.
Given that people are likely to feel anxious and agitated after staying indoors for a long time, Chen encouraged the public to make a daily plan, pick up a hobby, chat with family and friends, and work out more while at home to relieve the anxiety.
For people working on the front lines, including medical staff, social workers and policemen, Yang Fude, head of Beijing Huilongguan Hospital, suggested them not to work for too long, learn to vent their negative feelings, do indoor exercise and keep in touch with their families.