BEIJING, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese customs authority said Tuesday it has asked customs checkpoints across the country to strengthen inspections to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from entering China.
The General Administration of Customs (GAC) said customs inspectors were told to carry out stricter inspections on transportation facilities, goods and materials from regions affected by Ebola.
Customs checkpoints nationwide were also asked to closely cooperate with the quarantine authority in case of any suspected infections.
The GAC asked inspectors to prioritize customs clearance for emergency supplies such as medical equipment, protective items, drugs and food that China has provided for Ebola-affected African nations. Chinese disease control experts departing for Africa should be given easy customs clearance, it said.
Last Monday, China's quarantine authority said it would implement stricter inspections on inbound flights from regions affected by Ebola and step up sanitary measures on incoming vehicles and goods.
China will also suspend imports of some goods and animal products, while raising awareness among travelers bound for those regions.
Ebola, which spreads through mucus and other body fluids or secretions such as stool, urine, saliva and semen of infected people, is believed to be very difficult to control.
Four western African countries -- Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone -- have been hit by the Ebola epidemic. So far, a total of 1,779 cases have been reported, including 961 deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Though the epidemic is currently restricted to West Africa, the WHO warned that the disease is a "public health emergency of international concern" and called for a coordinated international response to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.