China preparing measures to keep Ebola virus out

Girls look at a poster, distributed by UNICEF, bearing information on and illustrations of best practices that help prevent the spread of Ebola virus disease (EVD), in the city of Voinjama, in Lofa County, Liberia in this April 2014.
PHOTO: China preparing measures to keep Ebola virus out

Chinese health authorities are readying preparatory measures, particularly in viral testing and control, to prevent the highly lethal Ebola virus from entering the country.

But the chance of that happening remains remote, experts said.

As of July 27, there had been 1,323 cases attributed to Ebola and 729 deaths in four countries - Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone - according to data released by the World Health Organisation on Thursday.

Ebola is a severe illness with a death rate of up to 90 per cent. It is transmitted by direct contact with bodily fluids and tissues of infected animals or people, the WHO said.

In response, China's National Health and Family Planning Commission on Thursday night issued its Ebola prevention and control plan.

Procedures such as virus screening, case reporting, infection control and clinical guidelines are clearly defined.

The Beijing government announced that local health authorities have been preparing to prevent Ebola from spreading in the capital.

Pang Xinghuo, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, asked the public not to panic, citing response efforts in place.

The government has enhanced quarantine and surveillance measures with a system that can find out where else in the country the patients go after leaving Beijing, according to a statement released by Beijing CDC.

The capital's health authorities have launched technological training courses at all levels of medical institutes and hospitals, the statement said.

On Thursday, China's quarantine, foreign affairs, health and tourism departments jointly released a statement, that requires people from infected regions to inform entry-exit inspection and quarantine authorities after developing symptoms including fever and headache.

People from the infected places should cooperate with China's inspection and quarantine officers to go through medical checks, and cargos from the infected regions will also be quarantined, said the statement.

The director-general of the WHO and presidents of West African countries affected by Ebola were scheduled to meet on Friday (local time) in Guinea to launch a new $100 million response plan to bring the outbreak under control.

"The scale of the Ebola outbreak, and the persistent threat it poses, requires the WHO and Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to take the response to a new level, and this will require increased resources, in-country medical expertise, regional preparedness and coordination," WHO director-general Margaret Chan said in a statement.