The Chinese central government has always been concerned with the health and welfare of people in Taiwan and will provide any aid necessary for the island to fight SARS, Vice-Premier Wu Yi said.
Since the SARS epidemic began in Taiwan, the mainland has invited health workers and experts from Taiwan to visit the mainland many times and shared information with them, said Wu, who is also the health minister.
Wu was in the Swiss city Geneva to attend a meeting of the World Health Organization.
The mainland has also provided Taiwan with a newly developed reagent, Wu told WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland.
The Chinese leader added that people in Taiwan have access to all kinds of health information and that there is close cross-Straits co-operation.
Brundtland said the Taiwan issue has already been resolved in the World Health Assembly. She said she does not want this issue to disturb the handling of the SARS epidemic and other global health issues.
Wu also briefed Brundtland on China's fight against SARS.
The vice-premier said the Chinese Government attaches great importance to the health and safety of its people and that the fight against SARS is now on the top of the agenda of governments at all levels in China.
Wu pointed out that, with more than two months of hard work, the SARS epidemic in China is under control to a certain extent.
Brundtland said the WHO highly appraises the effective measures taken and the great efforts made by the Chinese Government in the prevention of SARS.
The director-general said the spread of SARS reminds the international community of the importance of building public health systems.
In Beijing, the Ministry of Health said the Chinese mainland is giving the Taiwan authorities greater access to information and resources to help prevent SARS.
The ministry has opened a special website with daily reports on SARS and information released by the WHO.
From the beginning of the SARS outbreak, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits has informed Taiwan of the SARS situation on the mainland, providing information on prevention and treatment methods and the case histories of Taiwanese SARS patients residing on the mainland.
On April 9, the association began providing Taiwan with SARS preventive medicine and technical information.
Medical experts from both sides of the Straits have been exchanging information, often through teleconferences, conducting field investigations and exploring ways to combat SARS.
Some Taiwanese experts had earlier called for the creation of permanent systems for cross-Straits health-care and disease-control co-operation to assist Taiwan's efforts against the disease.
Local governments and medical institutions on the mainland have donated SARS medicine, more than 8,000 protective face masks and three air-disinfecting machines to Taiwan.
The Beijing municipal government has prepared materials to send to help the battle against SARS in Taiwan.
(Xinhua News Agency May 20, 2003)