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Macao Paper: Joint Efforts Needed to Combat Disease
In the concerted efforts to curb atypical pneumonia in south China's Pearl River Delta Region (PRD), the need to build a risk control and information exchanges system has come to a highlight with the regional economic cooperation taken shape.

The trend of economic integration in the fledgling PRD economic zone, which encompasses south China's Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions (SARs), has enlarged the passenger flow, which has been attributable to the fast spreading of the epidemic, commented Thursday's Macao Daily News.

The newspaper said that it is a lesson that people should take in the development of the PRD. A coordinated risk control system and a smooth information exchange channel should be established as a result of the prosperous regional economic cooperation to fend off threats, such as atypical pneumonia.

The establishment of an effective cooperation is not only the task for the governments, but also for the non-government sector at different levels, said Macao's Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah on his visit to Guangdong Wednesday.

Although the primary objective of his visit to Guangdong is for talks on the building of a cross-border industrial zone between Macao and Guangdong, Ho said that he has been kept on tenterhooks for Macao's prevention of atypical pneumonia.

He said that the Health Services in Macao has clinched a close cooperative relationship with the Guangdong Provincial Health Department on the disease control, but the medical departments and organizations from the two sides still need some time to build a multi-ladder cooperation.

Hong Kong and Macao are important foreign trade outlets for China's mainland. With the development of the PRD economic zone, reforms are expected to prolong customs service hours and simplify customs formalities to further encourage personnel exchanges. Proposals brought to discussion among the three parties have included opening round-the-clock customs service and allowing Guangdong residents to enter Hong Kong and Macao simply with their ID cards.

(Xinhua News Agency April 3, 2003)

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