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Beijing Ready for Any Olympic Health Crises
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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 receive immediate and immaculate 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 the safety of all food products and that drinking water be free of contamination at the Olympic village, competition venues, public media and conference centers and hotels.


The city will have medical teams on constant call 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 invaluable experience from major events hosted over the last few years, such as November's Sino-African Summit, when Beijing welcome over 40 heads of state. Further preparation will be undergone during the 23 trial events for the Games that begin in July.


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, include 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 learning English.


And last but not least, the bureau will coordinate with banks to ensure foreign patients can use international bankcards to pay for their medical bills.


As part of its preparation, the bureau conducted food security inspections in over 30,000 hotels and restaurants this month.


"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's recently formed food safety committee holds representatives of 16 government departments and has created an expert panel for the Olympics.


A bilingual food safety monitoring system will track food processing and transportation. In case of the event 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)

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