Premier stresses vigilance against H7N9
BEIJING - Premier Li Keqiang on Sunday urged authorities to be vigilant against the H7N9 avian flu virus and prepare themselves for any new developments.
"Countermeasures have been effective so far, but the situation is still developing as new cases turn up," he said while visiting the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"We cannot afford to take it easy or relax, as we are facing a new virus," he said. "We should be prepared for any possible development."
Li urged health departments to find the source of the infections and step up research on the virus.
More efforts should be made to diagnose and treat infected people as early as possible, he said.
Li pledged to spare no efforts in treating infected patients and reducing casualties.
"We will make sure no patients have to deal with delayed treatment because of costs," he said.
Li said the government will continue to cooperate with international organizations, release information openly and improve public awareness of the virus.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission said last Wednesday that 108 H7N9 cases have been reported in China, including 23 that have resulted in death.
Since then, a dozen new cases have been reported, including two new infections in east China's Jiangxi Province.
The government will work to introduce modern technology to the poultry industry in order to prevent future epidemics, Li said.
Li visited a CDC lab to see how the organization is monitoring the virus and analyzing its genetic sequence. He endorsed the lab staff's work thus far and encouraged them to continue to monitor the virus.
During his visit to the CDC, Li spoke with a CDC branch in east China's Zhejiang Province, where some of the first H7N9 cases were reported.
He told the branch that it is important to find, report and treat new infections in a timely fashion.
Li also spoke with a CDC branch in Lushan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province, which was struck by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake a week ago.
He urged CDC staff in Sichuan to double their efforts to prevent epidemic outbreaks in shelters erected for earthquake victims.
The Lushan quake has left at least 196 people dead and more than 13,400 others injured.