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10,000 People Quarantined in China

Posted April. 29, 2003 22:05,   


The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday that besides China in areas such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada the peak of SARS has now passed and there are now signs of a decrease in cases. The WHO, however, noted that as the number of SARS cases is still increasing in China, China holds the key to the solution of SARS` spread.

China decided to take special measures to prevent the spread of SARS and gave permission to local governments to stop water supplies to houses and take away the right to use civilian vehicles, reported the Chinese media on Tuesday.

Chinese premier Web Jiabao promised to cooperate to prevent the spread of SARS in an emergency summit meeting held on Tuesday in Bangkok, Thailand with 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Japanese embassy in China today recommended that Japanese students in China return to Japan.

In some regions in China, residents even started to show selfish behavior with some provoking riots or blocking traffic. About 10,000 residents of a small town 20 km northeast of Tianjin unlawfully occupied a middle school building and burnt construction materials in protest against the designation of the school as an isolation ward for SARS patients on Monday night.

Some local governments blocked major roads which connect cities in which SARS is prevalent such as Beijing and Guangdongsheng. The Ministry of Transportation, however, condemned the local governments` actions saying that it would only harm national security. The ministry also issued an emergency order prohibiting the blockage of roads.

Hubeisheng local government is holding a campaign to send messages to their residents working or studying in areas where SARS is prevalent so that they do not return to their hometowns for the time being.

The Politburo of the Communist Party held a plenary meeting on Tuesday for the eradication of SARS as well as economic measures under the General Secretary of the Party Hu Jintao. It also decided to constantly maintain domestic consumption, actively get involved in financial measures, and continue to maintain sound monetary policy.

The Communist Party in Beijing announced 10 clauses on SARS control measures. The clauses contain information on isolation of travelers, reinforcement of control on immigrant workers, and providing appropriate information on SARS to the city residents.

The Department of Education ordered high schools and universities to autonomously decide the period of the consecutive labor holidays but to prohibit students from going back to their hometowns.

An additional 8 people died of SARS and 203 additional SARS patients were further found in China. The total number of people who have died of SARS is 139 and the number of SARS patients increased to 3106. Most of the additional deaths or infection cases occurred in Beijing.

There are 8924 residents in isolation due to SARS and in Zhejiang, Hangzhou 1,000 residents have been quarantined. The total number of isolation cases has increased to over 10,000.

Meanwhile, the Korean Embassy became the first foreign embassy in China to donate 4,900 dollars to Bejing city to fight SARS.

Yoo-Sung Hwang yshwang@donga.com