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China encourages imports of medical products to battle coronavirus

Asian girl wearing facemask in public
Chinese authorities are calling on local commerce departments to “expand imports of medical supplies and raw materials . . . to win the battle against the epidemic.”

As part of its efforts to shore up domestic supply of medical products to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, Chinese authorities have advised local commerce departments to expand imports of products that can help in prevention and treatment of the virus.

A communiqué from China’s Ministry of Commerce dated Feb. 6, 2020, noted that local commerce departments should attach “great importance to the expansion of imports to epidemic prevention and control. It is required that the local authorities strengthen organization and leadership, enhance coordination, make more efforts in communication and fulfill the detailed responsibilities.”

The statement from the ministry went on to say that local authorities should “expand imports of medical supplies and raw materials for production, actively make use of imports to increase domestic market supply of agricultural products like meat, give full play to the advantages of new business forms in foreign trade and expand imports based on local conditions to win the battle against the epidemic.”

The statement also said that information on 51 medical suppliers or supply channels in 14 countries and regions has been provided to local commerce departments. The communication did not disclose the names of those parties.

As of Feb. 6, there were 28,276 confirmed coronavirus cases globally, of which 28,060 were in China, according to the World Health Organization. Of the 564 deaths reported thus far, only one has occurred outside of China.

Image: Jo Panuwat D/Adobe Stock

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