Thursday, September 18, 2008

China allows entry of leprosy patients ahead of Olympics

BEIJING, July 24 (Xinhua) — China lifted its ban on the entry of foreign leprosy sufferers on Wednesday, two weeks ahead of the Beijing Olympics. Leprosy sufferers and their relatives from other countries can enter China starting from July 20, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ). The decision came two months after the organizing committee of the Beijing Olympic Games revealed a guideline on June 2 that blacklisted anyone suffering leprosy, mental illness, a sexually transmitted disease, open pulmonary tuberculosis and those who may commit terrorist acts from coming into China during the Olympic Games from Aug. 8 to 24. “The reason we lifted the ban is that U.N. Human Rights Council passed a resolution on June 18 for the elimination of discrimination against leprosy sufferers,” an official with the Department of Supervision on Health Quaratine of GAQSIQ told Xinhua on Thursday. The official who refused to be named said the new rules would remain in force after the Olympics.

Leprosy is a chronic disease which can cause nerve damage, leading to muscle weakness and atrophy, and permanent disability. According to the World Health Organization, the disease is transmitted via droplets from the nose and mouth of untreated patients, but is not highly infectious. At the beginning of last year, 224,717 cases were recorded globally. China banned the entry of foreign sufferers of leprosy, mental illness, sexually transmitted disease, HIV, and open pulmonary tuberculosis in 1989.
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1 comment:

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