Mu­tual aid to hin­der con­ta­gion

With travel and trade on rise, China seeks quar­an­tine co­op­er­a­tion within Eurasia

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By XUWEI and MAO WEI­HUA in Urumqi Con­tact the writ­ers at xuwei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China is look­ing to step up co­op­er­a­tion with Eurasian coun­tries in border health quar­an­tine pro­ce­dures to pre­vent the spread of en­demic dis­eases just as the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive is set to bring about more fre­quent in­ter­na­tional ex­changes. Es­tab­lish­ing a China-Eurasia health quar­an­tine co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nism would help to pre­vent the spread of en­demic dis­eases such as the Zika virus and Mid­dle East res­pi­ra­tory syn­drome, ac­cord­ing to Zhang Ji­wen, head of the Depart­ment of Su­per­vi­sion on Health Quar­an­tine. The depart­ment is part of the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Qual­ity Su­per­vi­sion, In­spec­tion and Quar­an­tine. He made the re­marks at an in­ter­na­tional fo­rum on en­try-exit health quar­an­tine at the Fifth China-Eurasian Expo, which opened on Tues­day. The Expo, to be held un­til Sun­day in Urumqi in the Xin­jiang Uygur au­ton­o­mous re­gion, has at­tracted rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 57 coun­tries and six in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions. Zhang said the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive will bring more fre­quent in­ter­na­tional ex­changes in cargo and per­son­nel as cross-border trade in­creases. “The pub­lic health risks in the border ar­eas will also in­crease as a re­sult,” he said. Zhang noted that there are 4.4 bil­lion peo­ple in Eurasia, and pub­lic health con­di­tions and en­demic dis­ease trans­mis­sion rates vary greatly among coun­tries. “HIV, malaria, dengue in the Greater Mekong re­gion; MERS and echinococ­co­sis in Cen­tral Asia; and po­liomyeli­tis and tu­ber­cu­lo­sis in West Asia and Africa, have all posed threats to Eurasian coun­tries,” he said. Zhang said the author­ity has pro­posed a re­search ef­fort lead­ing to cre­ation of a co­op­er­a­tive health quar­an­tine mech­a­nism for coun­tries in­volved in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive in three to five years. It also hopes to es­tab­lish a co­op­er­a­tive net­work for port quar­an­tine among those coun­tries in five to 10 years, he said. “The net­work will en­able a more sound health quar­an­tine sys­tem and co­op­er­a­tion scheme among those coun­tries,” he said. The spread of the Zika virus demon­strates the im­por­tance of en­hanced sur­veil­lance glob­ally, said Chin Kei Lee, med­i­cal of­fi­cer for emerg­ing in­fec­tious dis­eases with the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s China Of­fice. Chin spoke on the side­lines of the fo­rum. “Even­tu­ally there will al­ways be a risk for dis­ease to be trans­mit­ted to any coun­try, in­clud­ing China. For global prob­lems, there is a need for global so­lu­tions,” he said. “En­hanced sur­veil­lance ... of the sit­u­a­tion of dif­fer­ent coun­tries will be very use­ful for coun­tries in­clud­ing China to see where the risks are and how to con­trol the risks,” he said. He said that col­lec­tive and co­or­di­nated ac­tions be­tween coun­tries can make a dif­fer­ence in the pre­ven­tion of en­demic dis­eases. China has in­ter­cepted 11 of 22 im­ported cases of Zika virus through border health in­spec­tion pro­ce­dures, ac­cord­ing to the AQSIQ.

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