China's Local health departments have been authorized by the
Ministry of Health to independently release reports of major
epidemics and public health incidents from Tuesday.
Local health departments should implement the report-releasing
plan made by the Ministry of Health and provide timely and concise
information to the public, said the ministry.
Health authorities in provinces, autonomous regions and
municipalities should provide weekly or even daily updates to the
public if required, it said.
Early warnings of public health incidents should be announced
without delay, it added.
All the information to be released must be reported to the
ministry before being made public, so that the ministry can inform
relevant regions, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan and international
organizations, noted the ministry.
The Ministry of Health used to be solely responsible for
releasing information on epidemics and emerging public health
events, such as SARS, HIV/AIDS, and the bird flu.
(Xinhua News Agency March 22, 2006)