March 2, 2020 / 12:11 PM / a month ago

China's president says research centers to be set up to help contain coronavirus

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s president Xi Jinping said that a series of national clinical research centers would be set up to help contain the coronavirus outbreak, state television CCTV reported on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Chinese President Xi Jinping leaves after a news conference at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/David W Cerny/File Photo

Xi, speaking on a visit to several medicine institutes in Beijing, said strenuous efforts are needed to win the battle against the epidemic and that China must offer technological support to aid that campaign.

He also said bio security was an important part of national security, adding that China should set up national vaccine reserves to prepare for possible prevention work.

He emphasized that doing everything possible to save more patients’ lives is a top priority.

Xi added that drug and medical equipment research and development and clinical treatment had to be strengthened to effectively improve the cure rate and reduce the mortality rate.

The virus emerged in Wuhan late last year and has since infected more than 86,500 people, with the majority in China, with most in Hubei. Mainland China’s total number of confirmed cases is over 80,000 with a death toll at almost 3,000.

Xi added China will develop safe, effective vaccines, medicines and testing reagents to battle coronavirus as soon as possible. China needs to work to break through the bottlenecks of developing technical apparatus and independently develop high-end medical equipment, he said.

The country will stick to using a combination of western and traditional Chinese medicines in its battle, he said.

China will acquire core technology with independent intellectual property rights to come up with products and applications to safeguard people’s health and lives in its fight against coronavirus, Xi added.

Xi said he attached great significance to mental health, for the patients who have recovered, for people who lost loved ones and for those separated from their family for a long time.

The virus, said to have originated in a wet market in Wuhan selling illegal wildlife, has led to China banning illegal trading and poaching of wild animals.

“We must resolve to put an end to the bad habits of eating wild animals and promote a civilized, healthy, green, and environmentally friendly lifestyle,” Xi said.

Reporting by Lusha Zhang, Roxanne Liu and Shivani Singh; Editing by Mike Collett-White

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