China allows foreign media to observe production lines of new COVID-19 drugs

The Chinese government has permitted foreign correspondents to observe production lines at pharmaceutical firms. One of the firms will be manufacturing a new coronavirus drug.

The move comes at a time when the coronavirus is spreading rapidly.

The government is apparently trying to reassure the public that enough drugs will be available during the Lunar New Year holidays, which begin January 21. A huge number of people are expected to travel at that time.

The journalists were invited to visit two pharmaceutical manufacturers in Beijing on Tuesday.

One company is preparing to produce a domestically developed oral medication for COVID-19 patients. Authorities approved the drug last July.

The firm says the medication will reduce recovery time for patients with mild or moderate symptoms. It says with the government's approval it can produce up to 7 million tablets per day.

The journalists were also shown a production line for cold medicines at another pharmaceutical company. Such drugs have been in short supply in China due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

The company says its employees are working around the clock without days off to ensure production continues.