Wednesday, April 28, 2010

China Lifts Ban on Visitors Who Are H.I.V. Positive

Days before travelers worldwide are to begin arriving for Shanghai’s world exposition, China has lifted a two-decade ban on travel to the country by people who carry the virus that causes AIDS or who have other sexually transmitted diseases.

The action also removed a longstanding ban on travel to China by people with leprosy.

The government approved amendments to a 1986 law governing quarantines and a 1989 law regulating entry by foreigners, removing prohibitions related to people with H.I.V., which causes AIDS, China’s State Council, a body roughly equivalent to the White House cabinet, reported on its Web site late Tuesday.

The council’s standing committee approved the changes on April 19 and Premier Wen Jiabao signed decrees putting them into effect on April 24, the council said.

With the changes, the ban on travel is officially limited only to people with infectious tuberculosis, serious mental disorders and “infectious diseases which could possibly greatly harm the public health.”

China has temporarily lifted the ban on H.I.V.-positive travelers for major events in the past, but the revision of longstanding laws indicates that the latest change will be permanent. The state-run newspaper China Daily quoted a spokesman for the health ministry, Mao Qun’an, as saying that the ministry had been working to permanently remove the prohibition since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/28/world/asia/28aids.html?ref=asia

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