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Beijing enhances biosafety, hygiene: official
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Beijing is enhancing biosafety at laboratories and promoting a smoke-free Olympic Games in its hygienic drive, said the city's top health official Jin Dapeng on Tuesday.

"Beijing will seal up in designated places all the highly pathogenic bacteria from citywide labs before June 15 to avoid infection and other biosafety incidents during the Games," said Jin, who is also a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

"Olympic medical services and hygiene have long been at the top of our agenda," said Jin. "We have compiled a guide to Beijing's medical facilities in eight languages for the convenience of international visitors."

About 175,000 medical workers in Beijing have been trained on Olympic etiquette and foreign languages, he said. "This has helped us build a talent pool of medical professionals with proficiency in English and other foreign languages."

Beijing will put together a sizeable medical workforce for the Olympics, including 3,000 volunteers, mostly students from medical schools and institutions.

The city will have 219 medical stations and ambulance stations at Olympic venues, 28 designated hospitals and a polyclinic constructed inside the athlete's village.

"All the Olympic medical facilities will be at serve 24 hours a day," said Jin.

To ensure a healthy, smoke-free environment for the Beijing Games, Jin's organization has called on 40,000 Beijing restaurants to put smoking bans in place. "This is not easy as many diners like to smoke during or after their meals," he said.

The Chinese are among the world's most enthusiastic smokers, with a smoking population of nearly 350 million. Beijing alone has nearly 4 million smokers.

The capital has banned taxi drivers from smoking in their cars since October last year, and has further banned smoking in hotel rooms, eateries and at workplace since early this year.

(Xinhua News Agency March 5, 2008)

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