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President Hu calls for stepped-up efforts to prevent swine flu
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08:06, April 29, 2009

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China went on full alert Tuesday to guard against swine flu, as authorities ordered round-the-clock monitoring of the deadly virus and suspension of pork imports from Mexico and the United States.

Chinese President Hu Jintao Tuesday ordered the country to step up inspection and quarantine measures to prevent swine flu from entering China and ensure public health and safety.

Hu urged local Party and government departments to stick to the people-first policy, closely monitor the global swine flu situation, and take prompt and comprehensive measures to deal with the virus, which had killed about 150 people in Mexico.

Officials should enhance international cooperation and public awareness of swine flu, and make full preparations of necessary materials and technological reserves to combat the deadly virus, he said.

As of Tuesday morning, no confirmed cases of swine flu had been reported in China, and the related virus had not been found in pigs in the country which has the world's biggest pig population.


The Health Ministry released a notice on Tuesday afternoon, ordering a round-the-clock working plan at all medical departments.

Authorities should enhance monitoring and reporting of suspected cases of swine flu, and should step up supervision at kindergartens, schools, colleges and nursing homes, focusing on the elderly and the children, it added.

Patients suspected of contracting the virus should be taken to designated hospitals, and treated and transported by designated emergency centers only, it said.

Medical supplies and equipment should be sufficiently provided to the designated medical institutions.


China's Agriculture Ministry and quality watchdog issued a joint notice on Monday suspending all imports of live pigs or products containing pork from Mexico and the US states of Texas, California and Kansas.

Live pigs or products shipped from the above regions to China before Monday could not enter the Chinese market without being tested by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the notice said.

The administration would enhance inspection of parcels and luggage carried by passengers entering China, and advance sterilization of passing international ships, trains and aircraft.

It would also join with the customs and border defence authorities to crack down on the smuggling of live pigs and their products.

On Saturday, the administration also required the public to report flu-like symptoms at the point of entry when coming from the swine flu affected places.

People who developed flu-like symptoms after returning from the disease affected regions within two weeks should also report to the local entry-exit inspection and quarantine authorities.

People reporting flu-like symptoms must be examined and those who have been infected or are suspected to be infected by the virus should be isolated and treated.

Those who have traveled to Mexico would be subject to stricter examinations, the administration said.


The Ministry of Agriculture Tuesday announced a team of animal disease prevention experts would study the epidemic situation of the swine flu, and to make proposals for Chinese authorities to head off the virus.

Minister of Agriculture Sun Zhengcai said although China so far reported no suspected cases of swine flu nor any similar virus in pigs, the epidemic could still spread to China.

"The situation in some countries is worsening. More suspected cases are being found and the affected area is expanding," he said, "There are too many uncertainties."

Sun said the ministry had been in close contact with the WHO and agricultural departments of Mexico and the United States to make preparations.

The ministry was closely monitoring regions with large numbers of pigs, he said. Owners of live pigs imported from overseas since last year were required to promptly report to the ministry, should the pigs show abnormalities with their health.

The ministry was also working to develop a vaccine for the swine flu, Sun said.


China's Ministry of Commerce warned Chinese citizens not to work in Mexico in the near term, and to enhance prevention when they head to work in countries that have reported swine flu cases.

The United States, Canada, Spain and France had also reported cases of swine flu.

Jiang Yu, spokeswoman of China's Foreign Ministry, also warned Chinese citizens to take steps for disease prevention when visiting those countries.

The Foreign Ministry would closely follow the development of the swine flu epidemic, and would promptly publish new information.

The National Tourism Administration ordered travel agencies to suspend tour groups to Mexico, and advised Chinese citizens to avoid trips to the country.



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