Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang underlined the importance of disease prevention in quake-affected areas during his visit to hard-hit Mianyang city on Sunday.
Saving life is still the top priority, Li said, but disease prevention should also be given heavy weight in disaster relief.
Li arrived in the quake-hit Mianyang city in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Sunday to oversee disaster relief.
He urged medical workers to strengthen disease monitoring and establish a daily report mechanism to prevent epidemic breaking out.
The World Health Organization (WHO) urged China on Sunday to be wary of disease outbreaks after the strong earthquake.
"Continuing surveillance is extremely important," Dr. Margaret Chan, director general of the UN agency, told Xinhua in an interview.
"Early warning through very good disease surveillance systems is the only way to help you to pick up and diagnose early trouble so that you can mobilize health care workers to deal with the issue," she said.
Li also urged officials and rescuers at work to be wary of aftershocks and secondary disasters, including landslides and mudflows, damages to reservoirs, dams and water power stations, to avoid new casualties.
(Xinhua News Agency May 19, 2008)