Beijing will take every possible step to prevent an epidemic or
health scare during the 2008 Olympic Games and to ensure injured and
sick athletes get immediate and the best medical treatment, city
health authorities said yesterday.
"Health security preparations for the 2008 Olympics are on in
full swing," Beijing Municipal Health Bureau's deputy chief Deng
Xiaohong told a press conference.
The bureau will have strict control measures in place to ensure
that imported food products are safe and drinking water free of
contamination at the Olympic village, competition venues, public
media and conference centers and hotels.
The city will have medical teams ready to deal with any
emergencies. "Beijing is certain of rendering top quality health
service for the Games," the official said.
The city has gained a lot of experience from the major events
hosted during the past few years, such as November's Sino-African
Summit, when more than 40 heads of states and governments were in
Beijing. And the 23 trial events for the Games that begin in July
will help it be ready for the big event.
Beijing already has two city management programs and a training
plan to prepare for health security that focuses on medical
emergencies. The training program, led by the bureau, includes
technical and language trainings both.
More than 20 hospitals have already been selected as official
medical centers for the 2008 Olympics, with all the doctors
attending classes to learn English.
And not least importantly, the bureau will coordinate with banks
to ensure foreign patients can use international bankcards to pay
their medical bills from this year.
As part of its preparation, the bureau conducted food security
inspections in more than 30,000 hotels and restaurants early this
"We have defined four safety grades, with hotels at the bottom
two grades being told to improve their standards," another deputy
chief of the bureau Liang Wannian said.
The city has formed a food safety committee with representatives
of 16 government departments. It also has formed an expert panel
for the Olympics.
A food safety monitoring system both in Chinese and English will
keep track food processing and transportation. In case of a food
scare, the city will immediately form teams for medical treatment,
testing and assessment, news briefings and investigations.
Health workers will undergo training to deal with public health
incidents, Liang said. Public campaigns will be launched in the
run-up to the Olympics to make people more aware of the importance
of food and water safety.
(China Daily January 30, 2007)