BEIJING: China will draw on its experience in COVID-19 prevention and control, as well as make proactive preparations for future pandemics, such as “Disease X”, said the country’s chief of the National Disease Control and Prevention Administration, Wang Hesheng.

Addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing today, Wang said the Chinese government would implement a holistic approach to national security and work with relevant authorities to boost its preparedness.

“Although Disease X is hard to avoid, the pandemic it could cause can be prevented. We need to be better prepared,“ he added.

In May 2023, World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world should be ready for the next pandemic, which might be “even deadlier” than COVID-19.

He noted that the threat of another variant emerging that could cause new surges of infection and death remains, and so is the threat of another pathogen emerging with even deadlier consequences.

Wang elaborated that China would take preventive measures such as improving its systems and regulations, carry out disease prevention control according to law, improve resource allocation and the mechanism to shift between normal operations and emergency risks.

“We will (also) build and improve a multichannel monitoring and early warning system and strengthen risk assessment in infectious diseases to identify them early,“ he added.

Wang said China would also play an active role in its global public health governance, advance cooperation with the WHO and other international organisations and countries, as well as actively participate in concluding a pandemic treaty and global health regulations.

At the same press conference, China vows to keep employment steady, supported by five focus areas, including encouraging entrepreneurship, improving workers’ skills, keeping the job market vibrant and supporting key groups.

Human Resources and Social Security Minister Wang Xiaoping said there was a strong demand for talent in fields such as artificial intelligence and big data, while demand is also on the rise in sectors like healthcare, accommodation, catering and cultural tourism.

“These changes are fuelled by China’s economic recovery and the unleashing of the potential in service consumption.”

In 2023, over 12.44 million new urban jobs were created while surveyed urban unemployment stood at an average of 5.2 per cent. - Bernama