China's economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and two other government ministries on Wednesday issued a plan that requires every province in China to set up at least one P3 lab, and major cities to have at least one P2 lab, as part of the nation's efforts to improve its testing ability for pathogens and health hazards.
Under the plan, centres for disease control and prevention at the provincial level should focus on improving their lab testing abilities, upgrading lab equipment and instruments, and strengthening their bio-safety containment capacities.
Capable cities are also encouraged to integrate testing sources in cities and counties, set up mobile BSL-2 labs, and strengthen their ability to rapidly respond to an epidemic outbreak and accurately test, according to the plan.
The Chinese centre for Disease Control and Prevention should also promote the upgrade and transformation of the labs that store bacterial and viral specimens, the plan said.
The notice comes amid increasing calls in China to improve the country's public health emergency management system, after the coronavirus outbreak in January exposed certain weakness in basic public health infrastructure as well as virus prevention and treatment capabilities.
China currently has more than 20 P3 labs scattered nationwide, according to media reports. The country has one P4 lab based in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province.
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