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Legislation key to epidemic control
By Liu Li (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-09-07 05:37

China has adopted a series of financial, legal and administrative measures since the 1990s to help with the efforts to prevent and cure AIDS.

Also at the panel session on public health crises and health law yesterday, Jin Dapeng, director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Health, called for legislation on public health emergencies to be accelerated.

"A system to handle states of emergency should be fixed in the Constitution and laws drafted", he said yesterday.

"The system also needs specific public emergency laws," Jin said.

Current legislation does not meet the requirements of the conditions regarding public health emergencies, the director said.

China did not have any specific legislation to deal with a public health emergency until the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in 2003.

The State Council issued the National Regulation on Public Health Emergencies that year.

However, "the legislators did not attach enough importance to legislation over emergency treatment," Jin stressed.

Charles Thompson, a lawyer from the United States, said on the issue yesterday:"The experience with SARS counsels that each local government have in place the necessary legal framework to impose swift and effective control measures on those who may be infected by carriers of potential pandemic diseases.

"The legal framework should be designed to be flexible in addressing diseases about which little is known."

Another local health official, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Health Department Director Gao Feng, also addressed the issue of health legislation.

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