Of­fi­cials: Zika un­likely to spread on main­land

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHANG YI zhang_yi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s top health author­ity said on Thurs­day there is no sign of spread of Zika virus on the Chi­nese main­land and a con­tin­gency plan in­volv­ing 18 cen­tral govern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions was set up to cope with the dis­ease.

Song Shuli, spokes­woman for the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, said in a news brief­ing that 22 im­ported Zika virus cases were re­ported in China as of Sept 5 and all pa­tients had re­cov­ered.

“Our com­mis­sion is pay­ing close at­ten­tion to the de­vel­op­ment of the epi­demic. A con­tin­gency plan has been launched and 10 mea­sures have been adopted to pre­vent any spread of the dis­ease, in­clud­ing prac­tic­ing quar­an­tine mea­sures at cus­toms and adopt­ing pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures,” Song said.

Ef­forts have been made to re­duce the mos­quito pop­u­la­tion na­tion­wide, and con­di­tions in seven prov­inces and re­gions in south­ern China are be­ing mon­i­tored.

On Wed­nes­day, the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Qual­ity Su­per­vi­sion, In­spec­tion and Quar­an­tine asked trav­el­ers to coun­tries where the virus is preva­lent to be ex­tra cau­tious and avoid mos­quito bites.

More than 250 cases of Zika virus have been re­ported in Sin­ga­pore this month, 30 of them in­volv­ing Chi­nese citizens.

Peo­ple en­ter­ing China from coun­tries af­fected by the virus should present them­selves to the quar­an­tine staff if they have any of the symp­toms, such as fever, joint pain, rashes, con­junc­tivi­tis, headaches and mus­cle pain, the ad­min­is­tra­tion said.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion asked peo­ple plan­ning to travel to 58 coun­tries and re­gions hit by the virus to take mea­sures to avoid mos­quito bites — such as wear­ing light-col­ored, long-sleeve shirts and long trousers and us­ing mos­quito re­pel­lent and nets while sleep­ing.

Zika is mainly spread by mos­qui­toes. The out­break be­gan in Brazil and spread through the Amer­i­cas. Other South­east Asian coun­tries, such as Malaysia and Thai­land, have also re­ported Zika cases.

Song said the com­mis­sion had or­ga­nized med­i­cal ex­perts to eval­u­ate the risks of Zika spread­ing in China. The ex­perts found that there is lit­tle risk of a large-scale spread of the ill­ness in the coun­try, though it faces an in­creased risk of im­ported Zika, es­pe­cially from South­east Asian coun­tries.

Ac­cord­ing to WHO, the risks in China will de­pend on im­ported cases, the pres­ence of mos­qui­toes that can trans­fer the virus and the coun­try’s abil­ity to de­tect and re­spond to its spread.

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