>China to improve eye test services for kids
China has vowed to improve eye care and test services for children aged zero to 6 to detect eye diseases in their early stages and poor eyesight, and prevent myopia through timely intervention. Local authorities should see that all neighborhood children receive eye care and test services 13 times before the age of 6, according to a guideline from the National Health Commission (NHC) issued on Wednesday.
These services will be provided by township and community-based or county-level health institutions.
NHC said the guideline was part of a comprehensive plan for the prevention and control of myopia among children and adolescents.
>China reaps bumper summer grain harvest
China reaped another bumper summer harvest in 2021, the country's agriculture minister said Wednesday. This has laid a solid foundation for ensuring that the total grain output this year would remain at above 650 billion kilograms, Tang Renjian, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, said during an inspection tour in the city of Sanhe, in North China's Hebei province.
Despite unfavorable weather conditions, pests and diseases, China's summer grain output reached an all-time high, Tang said. The planting area of wheat harvested this summer reversed a declining streak of four consecutive years, the minister said.
Tang attributed the bumper harvest to China's efforts in developing high-standard farmland, adding that the yield per unit area of land also hit a record high.
>'Group buying' sees drug prices drop 56%
Medicines selected through the current round of the Chinese government's new centralized drug-procurement program will be 56% cheaper than normal, on average, for public health facilities that purchase them, according to the National Healthcare Security Administration. The fifth round of the centralized drug-procurement program, which took place in Shanghai on Wednesday, saw 201 companies bidding to provide medicines to public health facilities, including hospitals. Of those companies making bids, 148 were successful on Wednesday, with 251 products being qualified.
Among the bid-winning products are 11 from 10 foreign-funded enterprises.
The centralized procurement system, launched in 2019, has been hailed by experts as a means of boosting drug accessibility for Chinese patients and reducing their financial burden of treatment.
>Venice may be put on endangered list
UNESCO said it would examine a proposal to put Venice on its endangered list if the lagoon city does not issue a permanent ban on cruise ships docking there, according to the Italian news agency Ansa.
The United Nations agency said on Monday it will discuss the issue at its plenary session on July 16-31.
If approved, the agency could demand urgent action from the Italian government by next February.
Early in June, Venetians were caught by surprise when a cruise liner sailed into the lagoon city for the first time since the pandemic began, despite an announcement from the Italian government that the ships would be banned from the historic center.
"A long-term solution is urgently needed," UNESCO said. "A solution that will prevent total access to the lagoon, redirecting them to more suitable ports in the area."
It warned that Venice's survival will be even more in peril if the lagoon city doesn't issue a permanent ban on cruise ships.
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