Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Wednesday, April 23, 2003

SARS Cases on Chinese Mainland Rise to 2,158

The Information Office of the Ministry of Health announced Tuesday afternoon that up to 21:20 on April 21, the total number of confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) cases reported on the Chinese mainland had risen to 2,158, while that of suspected SARS cases was 918.


The Information Office of the Ministry of Health announced Tuesday afternoon that up to 21:20 on April 21, the total number of confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) cases reported on the Chinese mainland had risen to 2,158, while that of suspected SARS cases was 918.

Of all the confirmed cases, 97 patients had died while 1,213 had been discharged from hospitals after recovery.

The accumulated number of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) cases in Beijing were 588, among which, 99 were health care staffs, according to the information office of the Chinese Ministry of Health.

Of the total SARS patients, 46 were cured and discharged from hospitals, 28 dead, by 8:00 pm, April 21.

The State Council decided to send the third batch of supervisors to provinces and autonomous regions with fewer SARS cases to monitor local efforts to fight SARS. Vice-Premier Wu Yi urged the teams, composed of medical experts and central government officials, to mobilize all forces to stop the spread of the disease.

The General Offices of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council have jointly issued a document to urge governments at all levels to strengthen their efforts in the battle against SARS, Xinhua reported.

It also said that Chinese scientists have become the first in the world to complete the genome-sequencing of the SARS virus.

The Beijing Genomics Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) made the breakthrough, in co-operation with the Microbe Epidemic Institute of the Military Academy of Medical Sciences.

On April 16, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially identified the coronavirus as the cause of SARS. Scientists from both organizations then collaborated with Peking Union Medical College Hospital and other clinics, successfully developing a specific enzyme link immunoabsorbent assay to rapidly test for SARS.

Dong Wei, with the institute's genotyping group, said the test has been put into use at all Beijing's designated hospitals for SARS, and in one week, it could be available across the country.

The latest report shows that Tianjin, East China's Shandong Province, and Central China's Hubei Province have all reported their first SARS cases.

Meanwhile, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality and Guizhou Province, and East China's Jiangsu Province, have all detected their first suspected SARS cases.

South China's Guangdong Province, where SARS was first detected, has diagnosed 1,330 patients with the disease, which claimed 48 of them. But 1,137 of those infected have recovered, according to yesterday's report.

Beijing has recorded 588 confirmed cases, with 48 deaths. However, there are also 666 suspected SARS patients in the capital city, many of whom may be clinically diagnosed with the disease in the coming days.

The Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress yesterday accepted the resignation of Beijing Mayor Meng Xuenong, and appointed Wang Qishan as acting mayor.

By April 21, Shanghai had reported two SARS patients and eight suspected cases.

The city authority has set up an English and Japanese language hotline - (8621) 52285500 - to provide medical advice on the virus.

Shanghai Lung Hospital has been designated as the city's treatment centre for foreign SARS patients, according to the local health authority.

In Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, two SARS cases and five suspected ones have been discovered. But some 100 students in a school in its Luonan County overdosed on the traditional Chinese medicine believed to prevent SARS on April 16. The children, prescribed the medicine by their school doctor, were rushed to a local hospital and all survived.

South China's Yunnan Province has identified two people who lived in epidemic areas and are under medical observation. It is on alert against SARS which has been found in all regions neighbouring Yunnan, the province's governor Xu Rongkai announced Tuesday.

To better monitor SARS at entry-exit ports, Beijing Inspection and Quarantine Bureau has set up a body temperature scanner at the capital's international airport.

Meanwhile, in Shenzhen of Guangdong Province, Luohu port has also installed the device, which identifies passengers who are running a fever, and will use it from today.

In an emergency notice issued yesterday, the State Environmental Protection Administration ordered environmental protection departments at all levels to ensure the proper treatment of sewage and garbage released from hospitals, especially those that have received SARS patients, to prevent secondary infections.

The State Development and Reform Commission said yesterday nationwide inspections will be launched to stop illicit price increases among SARS-related medicines and commodities.

The Ministry of Communications also issued an emergency notice Tuesday to all of its provincial branches, calling on them to prepare emergency transport for potential SARS patients.

The ministry will also co-operate with the Ministry of Railways and the General Administration of Civil Aviation of China to guarantee the transport of SARS prevention medicines within 24 hours.

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