China to increase number of response teams for new infectious diseases

By Thomson Reuters Mar 11, 2024 | 3:39 AM

By Andrew Silver

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China will increase the number of specialised teams tasked with responding to future infectious disease outbreaks by five to 25, its top health official has said.

The country will also improve early warning and relevant regulatory or legal systems, according to Wang Hesheng, a director at the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration.

Speaking on Saturday on the sidelines of an annual session of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC), Wang also said that it may be difficult to avoid a pathogen with epidemic potential but pandemics could be prevented.

China has also made draft revisions to laws on infectious disease prevention, control and quarantine, and the revisions have undergone initial reviews, according to a report on the work of the NPC’s standing committee.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang’s work report noted that the country had achieved a “major, decisive victory in the fight against COVID-19”.

(Reporting by Andrew Silver; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)