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Responsible not only to China, but also to the world
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09:17, May 22, 2009

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On the morning of May 19, the second confirmed case of A/H1N1 influenza on Chinese mainland, a patient surnamed Lv, left Jinan Infectious Disease Hospital after recovery. Of the five total confirmed and all suspect cases on Chinese mainland, two of them have fully covered, including the confirmed one in Chengdu. The remaining three cases are in a stable condition.

The patients in the five confirmed and all suspect cases tested positive with the virus upon their return from overseas. To date, all confirmed cases are imported. Among all of those who had close contact with the patients and who have been placed under medical observation, no confirmed or suspect cases of A/H1N1 influenza have been found.

In light of the situation, experts believe that it has been shown that proactive measures for the disease's prevention and control recently adopted by China are effective. In the context of globalization, personnel exchange becomes more and more frequent and measures like those adopted by China not only embody a nation's responsibility toward its own citizens, but they also make contributions to the world's efforts in preventing the epidemic from further spreading.

"Judging from the current situation, the measures adopted by the Chinese government have been proactive and effective," Xue Lan, Dean of the School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University, said. "China has obtained a reasonable balance in terms of social costs and effects in its prevention and control efforts, which is a responsible move."

The A/H1N1 Influenza virus, which is currently wreaking havoc around the world, is the top priority of the 62nd Session of the World Health Assembly currently under way in Geneva. As Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, pointed out, the most prominent characteristic of the virus strain consists in the fact that it can keep propagating and therefore may lead to a great level of uncertainty. Once a major influenza outbreak occurs, the international community will be confronted with a "shared threat."

Minister of Health Chen Zhu reiterated China's position when delivering a speech at the assembly. He pointed out that as a country with a huge population and a relatively weak medical infrastructure, China has paid special attention to enhancing its entry-exit inspection and quarantine work in response to this outbreak, in order to reduce the risk of cases imported from abroad.

Chen also stressed that China will strengthen monitoring to cope with the second wave of influenza cases that may occur to a more serious degree.

At present, A/H1N1 influenza is still spreading. In the US, which has the highest number of confirmed A/H1N1 cases, the epidemic has spread into 47 states; in New York alone, 16 schools have been forced to close in the past week. In Japan, a country close to China, the number of confirmed cases surged to 163 by May 18, most of them being none-imported cases. Only three days before that however, Japan had reported a mere four cases imported from abroad. At present, more than 1,000 schools in Japan have been closed and many employees are wearing facemasks to travel to and from work.

At a time when there is a situation of severe epidemic in neighboring countries, the Chinese government has further reinforced prevention and control measures: strict quarantine and inspection are being carried out at border ports and there is a requirement to accurately fill out a detailed health declaration form. Quarantine and inspection for domestic travel has been intensified with body temperature examinations being carried out at stations (terminals), docks and on transportation vehicles and efforts by fever clinics to screen patients with fever have increased.

On May 17 Premier Wen Jiabao visited the first confirmed A/H1N1 patient and medical personnel in Beijing. He pointed out that China has taken vigorous measures in the prevention and control of the flu, not only ensured the health of China's 1.3 billion citizens, but also helped the world prevent the disease from spreading.

Against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, China's prevention and control measures have minimized both the possibility of the flu epidemic harming the health of the public and also its negative economic and social impacts. This has a significant and positive meaning in ensuring the recovery of the world economy.

By People's Daily Online

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