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Archive for Sunday, May 4, 2003

China lets experts visit rival Taiwan for SARS

May 4, 2003

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— China also decided to let the World Health Organization visit Taiwan in its fight against severe acute respiratory syndrome, putting aside politics after reports the island's number of SARS cases has doubled in a week.

China did not explain its decision regarding Taiwan. But it may have been part of its recent effort to appear more cooperative.

China earlier rejected direct WHO help for the island, a refusal that island said was threatening its efforts to fight the disease. At least 102 people have been diagnosed with SARS in Taiwan, including eight who have died.

Eighteen new deaths were reported Saturday in east Asia, pushing the global death toll to 436. Nine deaths were in mainland China, and nine were in Hong Kong.

Beijing also will keep elementary and middle schools closed for an additional two weeks to help prevent the spread of SARS, the government said early today.

Announcing the decision to keep schools in Beijing closed, the official Xinhua News Agency said authorities planned to have correspondence classes for the students using TV broadcasts and the Internet.

The schools, which were closed about two weeks ago, had been scheduled to reopen providing the SARS outbreak was under control.

But on Saturday, the Health Ministry reported a total of 181 new cases on the mainland and nine new fatalities, pushing China's toll to 190. Five of the deaths were reported in Beijing, bringing the death toll in the capital to 96.

Nine other deaths were reported in Hong Kong, pushing the total death count to 436.

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