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China Releases Latest SARS Case Figures (20/04/2003)
2004-03-09 13:48
On the afternoon of April 20, 2003,  the State Council Information Office  held a press conference on the latest development of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in the Chinese mainland.

The executive vice minister of the Ministry of Health Gao Qiang and vice minister Zhu Qingsheng attend the press conference to introduce the latest SARS cases, as well as the measures the Chinese government has taken to prevent the spread of the disease.

According to Gao, of the 1,807 confirmed SARS cases in the mainland, 1,304 cases are found in Guangdong.

There are 339 cases found in Beijing, 108 in Shanxi, 25 in Inner Mongolia, 12 in Guangxi, six in Hunan, five in Sichuan, three in Fujian, two in Shanghai, two in Henan and one in Ningxia.

Beijing reports a total of 339 confirmed cases, including 24 medical workers, eight students, and 28 people from outside Beijing. Among its 402 suspected cases, 41 were medical workers, 42 were students and 21 were people from outside Beijing. Of the total cases of Beijing, 18 patients died, and 33 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospital.

Five foreigners in the city were diagnosed to have SARS and another four were suspected of the disease.

China will make public information about SARS cases on a daily basis starting April 21, Gao Qiang said. Before this, the information was released every five days.

Gao said that the State Council decision is aimed to raise the awareness of governments at all levels and the general public on SARS prevention and control.

According to Gao, the epidemic reporting system must be carried out more strictly and violators would face severe punishment.

Gao said that those officials in charge who are incompetent to have correct information about epidemics or intentionally cover up the situation of epidemics would be punished severely.

As a discipline, all medical institutions must strengthen monitoring of epidemics, timely check the cases, and report the situation to superior departments. No delay, cover-up or missing of the cases is allowed, he added.

China's State Council has decided to cancel the week-long May Day holidays to prevent the possible spread, Gao said, adding that although the move may cause great losses to the country's tourism industry the Chinese government is determined to place its people's health first.

Gao Qiang told the press conference that China has actively and effectively cooperated with the World Health Organization (WHO) in controlling SARS.

China has paid high attention to some working suggestions raised by the WHO, which played an important role for improving SARS control, Gao added.

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