Authorities monitor ports of entry as workers return from infected area
The risk of the ongoing plague being transmitted from Madagascar to China will rise as large numbers of Chinese workers return from the African country for the Spring Festival holiday, which this year falls in mid-February, authorities said on Tuesday.
China's port authorities have been closely monitoring the plague in Madagascar and have taken measures to prevent the disease from entering the country. So far, no case has been reported in China, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
However, the authority warned that the risks could be rising since the plague is continuing to spread in the Indian Ocean nation.
A plague, mainly pneumonic, broke out in Madagascar in August, and 2,603 cases were reported as of Jan 7, according to data shared by the administration and the World Health Organization. A total of 225 fatalities have been reported.
The WHO predicted that the plague will continue until April.
"About 100,000 Chinese laborers and other overseas Chinese are in Madagascar, and many of them will come back for Chinese New Year next month, which will make the risk much higher," the administration said. "The authority has called on experts to evaluate the situation and has taken multiple measures to fight the plague."
The authority ordered exit-entry inspection and quarantine authorities across the nation to join efforts on disease prevention and control.
Port authorities have intensified health inspections on people and cargo from areas affected by the plague, taking steps such as measuring body temperature and sterilizing containers and parcels from these areas, the administration said.
Between Oct 9 and Jan 22, the authorities examined 4,203 people who entered the country from Madagascar, 3,763 of whom arrived via direct flights. Three were found with fevers that proved to be pernicious malaria after lab tests.
Cases of the plague have been reported in big cities in Madagascar and the highly communicable disease may spread globally. The WHO has specified nine countries and regions, including South Africa, Mozambique and Kenya, as having high risks of getting infected, the administration said.