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China to improve prevention measures in cruise industry

(Xinhua)

11:06, October 26, 2012

SHANGHAI, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese officials have pledged to ramp up efforts to better prevent epidemic outbreaks on luxury cruises amid a boom in the industry.

Liu Pingjun, deputy head of General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China said the country needs to learn advanced quarantine technologies and management experience from foreign countries to better cope with "health emergencies" on cruises.

Liu said at a industry workshop in Shanghai that the administration has drafted a number of regulations, including setting up a cruise health quarantine team in 2010. More drills will be held to help the quarantine team members be prepared.

Officials said cruises -- with hundreds or thousands of passengers and traveling internationally -- are vulnerable to epidemic outbreaks. In 2008, a stomach virus hit 285 people on a cruise that was due to dock at Shanghai. It was the first case of a cruise health emergency reported in China.

Cruise tourism is experiencing a boom in China. More than 504,500 people left or arrived at Chinese ports on cruises last year. More than 142 cruise ships sailed from coastal China to international destinations, up 49.5 percent from a year earlier, according to China Communications and Transportation Association.

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