Better SARS prevention urged
( 2003-10-10 01:53) (China Daily)
Vice-Premier and Health Minister Wu Yi stressed at a national meeting in Beijing yesterday that more measures should be taken to prevent any future epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome.
Wu said all areas and all departments must implement preventive measures as soon as possible to safeguard the achievements that China gained in the fight against SARS this spring.
She stressed that the reason for holding yesterday's meeting was not because new SARS cases have been found in China nor that the epidemic was expected to rebound right away.
"Instead, the meeting was held in consideration of the fact that the SARS epidemic may occur again in autumn and winter -- the period when respiratory diseases are most likely to prevail,'' she said.
On Monday this week, the World Health Organization warned in the Swiss city of Geneva that SARS could reappear in November.
Experts with the organization said they were worried that a lack of sufficient security measures in laboratories doing research into the virus might lead to a resurgence of SARS.
On September 19, China's Ministry of Health resumed its practice of issuing daily reports on the number of SARS cases found in the country.
No SARS cases have been reported since then.
Nevertheless, Wu yesterday stressed that the whole country should remain on high alert to the possible rebound of SARS.
She said efforts should be taken to ensure the smooth flow of information about SARS. The system of daily reports should be implemented strictly.
Anyone who reports the number of SARS cases late or who deliberately gives false figures will be punished, she said.
But Wu added that all government departments should adopt a correct attitude towards the epidemic threat and should be encouraged not to overreact.
All information related to the epidemic will continue to be released only by the Ministry of Health.
The country will continue to strengthen its work in the research into a diagnosis reagent for SARS and effective medicines against the virus, said the vice-premier.
Co-operation and exchanges with other countries and regions will also be promoted, she added.
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