China's experience in handling SARS and avian influenza epidemics in recent years will help it control swine flu if it hits the country, Health Minister Chen Zhu said Thursday.
"I would like to emphasise that we have been through the test of SARS, and have accumulated experience over the past few years of joint prevention and control of avian flu," Chen told reporters.
Advertisement"We have the confidence and ability to prevent and control the human infection of swine flu."
Chen's comments came after officials warned the likelihood of swine flu spreading to China was very high, as millions of people prepared to travel around the country for a three-day public holiday starting Friday.
SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, swept through China and 30 other countries in 2003, killing more than 800 people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.
China was heavily criticised at the time for initially covering up the epidemic, which originated in the south of the country.
Since then, China has also had to deal with sporadic outbreaks of bird flu, with five people having died of the disease in 2009.
Chinese authorities have implemented wide-ranging measures to contain such health emergencies, with testing for fevers at airports already routine, and quick procedures for quarantining of sick people have been introduced.
China has also implemented mass vaccinations of healthy poultry and the slaughter of millions of sick ones.
Swine flu is believed to have killed 84 people in Mexico, where the virus emerged, and one person in the United States, although no cases have been reported in China.
The virus has swept across the globe with cases reported in nations such as New Zealand, Britain, Israel and Peru, and the World Health Organisation has raised its flu alert to phase five, signalling a pandemic is imminent.
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