China / Society

East China likely to handle Ebola transfer cases

By Shan Juan and Wang Xiaodong (China Daily) Updated: 2014-11-04 07:51

 East China likely to handle Ebola transfer cases

Free medical supplies from China are unloaded at Felix Houphouet Boigny Airport in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, on Friday. The supplies are part of China's relief effort to Ebola-hit countries. Wen Hao / Xinhua

Region's medical institutions have best capacity, facilities for any Chinese patients from West Africa

Designated medical institutions in East China will probably take care of Chinese Ebola patients transferred from West Africa, given their relatively high capacity in public health and medical treatment, said a senior emergency response official.

Wang Wenjie, deputy director of the emergency response department of the National Health and Family Planning Commission, spoke to China Daily on the sidelines of an Ebola control news conference on Monday.

Currently, there are more than 8,500 Chinese citizens, mostly staff workers at Chinese businesses and health personnel, in Ebola-hit West African countries, and none to date have been found to have contracted the deadly disease, he said.

"We have a daily reporting rule to inform the commission of the latest health condition among the Chinese citizens in West Africa, and in the meantime they are informed of self-protection tips against the virus," he said.

China has been combating Ebola outbreaks together with affected West Africa nations and international societies, Wang emphasized.

The Chinese government has so far offered four rounds of emergency humanitarian relief totaling 750 million yuan ($122.6 milion) to the hardest-hit African countries and to international organizations fighting Ebola, said Fang Aiqing, vice-minister of commerce.

Meanwhile, 224 Chinese medical workers have been dispatched to help with local Ebola control, and more will be sent, said Wang Wenjie.

Recognizing the Ebola risk the nation faces, Wang expressed confidence, citing great preparedness and past experience in combating major epidemics like SARS and H1N1.

Cui Li, vice-minister of health, advised health authorities across China at the weekend to be well prepared to treat Chinese who might be infected with the deadly Ebola virus in the future, according to a statement released by the commission on Monday.

She said authorities must intensify efforts to prevent the virus from spreading to China.

Although no Ebola infection has been reported in China and no Chinese citizens overseas have been reported to have contracted Ebola yet, China faces an increasing risk of the virus spreading, she said.

"The Ebola epidemic is unlikely to be eradicated in the near future, and its development has become a threat to China's public health security," she said.

Ebola had caused more than 4,900 deaths in the three worst-hit West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as of Friday, and confirmed infection cases have been identified in the United States and Europe, according to the World Health Organization.

Cui called for health authorities at various levels to intensify inspection at ports of international arrival, strengthen the monitoring and report system for early detection and response, and better cooperate with their international counterparts in tackling the disease.

She urged intensified management of people coming from Ebola-hit countries for the upcoming 2014 APEC Economic Leaders' Week, to be held in Beijing from Wednesday to Nov 11, to prevent the disease from entering China.

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