HAINAN PREFECTURE, Qinghai, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Local
officials coping with pneumonic plague control in northwest China's Qinghai
Province Thursday denied recent foreign media reports about people escaping from
the plauge-hit area on foot.
The officials told Xinhua that the reports about
escape were groundless and there were no facts supporting them.
AFP Wednesday quoted a businessman who works in
Ziketan township as saying, "Some of my hometown folks left, they are afraid of
On the same day, AP reported that two residents said
a lot of people (from the town) "ran off last night.
After 12 patients in Ziketan township of Xinghai
country in Qinghai's Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture were quarantined on
July 31, the local government has sealed off 3,500 square km centered around
Ziketan Township, with a population of 10,000, and established 23 quarantine
stations working around the clock.
No other infections were found except for the 12,
three of whom died and one was in critical condition as of Wednesday, according
to Dong Fukui, deputy government chief of Hainan prefecture that administers
More than 140 epidemic-prevention professionals from
the Ministry of Health and the provincial-level institutions are working in the
area to control the deadly disease.
Dong Fukui told Xinhua Thursday that he was just back
from the Ziketan grassland after having talked with more than 20 local herdsmen.
He explained to them some knowledge about the pneumonic plague and local
government's actions against it.
Efforts have been intensified to improve awareness of
the plague among locals, according to Dong.
Authorities publish the status of the plague
everyday, which helped contain the disease. More than 40,000 brochures and
leaflets on pneumonic plague along with 400 CDs have been distributed in the
Dong said he was so pleased that many locals in the
quarantined area voluntarily joined the disease-control efforts. Some patrolled
around the area by their own motorcycles. The prefecture government had decided
to subsidize the local volunteers, Dong added.
Actions against the plague are effective and the
disease is unlikely to spread from the epidemic center, according to specialists
taking part in the plague control.
"Supplies in the area are guaranteed. It is not
necessary for the locals to escape," Dong said.
Staff at the Jiudaoban quarantine station told Xinhua
that they did not see any resident flee from the epidemic center. Motor vehicles
queued up at the station for quarantine and disinfection. They were in good
order, though the process was slow. Dong said people involved did not complain
and remained calm.
According to Qin Jianxin, deputy head of the public
security bureau of Xinghai County who is in charge of the quarantine station
which is nearest to Xinghai county, there are 18 people working with the
station. Quarantine vehicles patrol the area round the clock. All of the
vehicles are employed for the plague control.
"This is the last pass and the only way toward the
epidemic center. We've seen no local residents come out of the center," Qin
Specialists taking part in the plague control
estimate that the lockdown was expected to be lifted in the near future when
conditions were ready.
They discovered the origin of the pneumonic plague
was possibly the dog raised by the first victim, who was a 32-year-old herdsman.
He owned a dog that died after contracting the plague from an ill wild marmot.
Wang Hu, head of the Qinghai provincial center for
disease prevention and control, told Xinhua earlier that while the herdsman was
burying the body of the dog, he was beaten by the fleas on the dead animal,
causing him to contract the plague.