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100 People Infected Daily in Beijing

Posted April. 28, 2003 21:50,   


As SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is spreading like wildfire throughout China, Chinese authorities have been taking additional emergency steps to isolate infections by closing buildings and enforcing quarantines.

Government measures

As SARS has spread to 26 out of 31 seongs, the Chinese Hygienic Department has sent urgent letters to each seong ordering the isolated treatment of SARS patients and protection of medical personnel. Beijing city officials isolated 9,000 residents who had contact with SARS patients or suspected patients on April 27. Authorities also announced the status of SARS, classified by area, in order to enhance transparency and wipe away any fears for unnecessary panic. Currently, Haiden-gu has the highest number of SARS patients among the 18 gus in which there are 588 patients infected with the deadly virus. Also, universities in Beijing closed or with classes canceled number 18 out of 62.

Jiang Zemin, of the Central Military Commission of China, ordered 1,200 military medical personnel to Beijing, as the number of SARS patients in Beijing has increased by 100 persons daily. The Chinese government has also banned funeral ceremonies for those having died of SARS; they now must be cremated.

Damages and economic loss by SARS

On April 27 another 9 people died and 161 people were infected in China, bringing the total to 2,914 infections and 131 dead. Sunday, in Beijing, 8 more people died of SARS increasing the total to 56. The capital now outnumbers Kwangdong-seong in which 51 have died. Those infected by SARS in Beijing number 1,114, still far less than the 1,382 of Kwangdong-seong. However, the number of suspected infections in Beijing totals 1,225 persons, five times that of Kwangdong-seong (230 persons).

The May 5th edition of Time Magazine reported that the economic cost worldwide caused by SARS has reached around 30 billion dollars. The magazine anticipates that the damage caused by SARS for China and Korea would amount to 2 billion dollars for each country in tourism revenue, retail services and productivity. Japan and Hong Kong would lose 1 billion dollars each.

Toronto, Canada has lost 30 million dollars a day due to SARS, as estimated by J.P. Morgan Securities Co.

SARS in Vietnam successfully contained

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on April 28 the withdrawal of travel restrictions to Vietnam. Vietnam satisfied the 20 day standard as put forth by the WHO, because no more SARS infections have been seen since April 8.

As for the official announcement of 41 suspected infections in the United States, hi-tech enterprises in Silicon Valley are rallying to implement an `emergency strategy` to fight SARS.

In addition, they are seeking the means to work at home, such as the enforcement of `firewalls` so that employees can work at home by accessing company servers.

Yoo-Sung Hwang Hye-Yoon Park yshwang@donga.com parkhyey@donga.com