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China Tells WHO, FAO Its Bird Flu Situation

China's Minister of Agriculture Du Qinglin Wednesday told two United Nations organizations that the bird flu situation in China is now under control, and China is fully confident that it can do a good job of preventing the spread of the highly contagious virus.

The minister explained the country's efforts to put the virus under control to the representatives of the China offices of World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, and some diplomats stationed in Beijing.

Du said the ministry is willing to improve its current mechanism on reporting the situation to the UN organizations, and expand its cooperation with them and other countries in the fight against the disease.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to curbing the bird flu, and, as always, gives top priority to the health and safety of its people, the minister noted.

Chinese governments at both the central and local levels have been mobilized in the fight against the disease, and no human infection of the virus has been detected, Du said.

He gave a detailed briefing on the measures the ministry has been taking in the battle against the virus, including the monitoring of the epidemic situation across the country, the slaughter of birds in areas with bird flu cases, and the production of bird flu vaccines, and the efforts it has made to help and supervise localities in the battle.

China has established a reporting mechanism to ensure that the latest bird flu situation is reported promptly, and has been moving swiftly to contain the epidemic, the minister said.

All domestic fowls within a three-km radius of affected site have been slaughtered and rendered harmlessly, while compulsory vaccination of such fowls within a five-km radius has been launched, together with disinfection of those areas and other areas under threat by the disease, he said.

The ministry has dispatched about 10 inspection groups to the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and Hubei, Hunan, Anhui and Guangdong provinces, where bird flu outbreaks have been reported, to ensure that proper measures have and will be taken to contain the outbreaks.

The minister said his ministry is willing to establish what he describes as transparent and expeditious channels of communication with the FAO and WHO, and improve the existing mechanism of reporting its bird flu situation in written form.

He said that he welcomed exchanges of information and cooperation with the two UN organizations, and other countries, especially neighboring countries, in the course of China's fight against the bird flu epidemic.

The FAO and WHO officials and some diplomats spoke highly of the attitudes of the Chinese government and its counter measures against bird flu, saying that they are willing to improve cooperation with China in this field and offer assistance.


(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2004)

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