China cancels SARS emergency measures

Jun 2, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – Chinese health authorities have called off emergency measures for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), saying the latest outbreak is under control, according to Xinhua, China's state news agency.

Beijing officials said yesterday they were closing down their SARS prevention headquarters and canceling other emergency control measures, Xinhua reported. Officials took the action after all seven patients in the city were discharged from a hospital and their contacts were released from quarantine, the report said.

Also yesterday, the Chinese Ministry of Public Health suspended its daily surveillance reports on SARS, Xinhua said. The surveillance program required local health authorities nationwide to provide a daily SARS report even if no cases were found.

Beijing's SARS prevention headquarters was set up Apr 22, when the city reported its first case this year, according to Xinhua.

The recent outbreak included seven SARS cases in Beijing and two in Anhui province in east-central China. Most of the cases were traced to a 26-year-old woman who contracted the virus while working in a laboratory at the National Institute of Virology in Beijing in March. A 31-year-old man who worked in the same lab also became infected. The mother of the 26-year-old woman died of SARS Apr 19; the other eight patients all recovered.

Chinese and World Health Organization (WHO) officials inspected the virology lab in May but were unable to determine exactly how the two researchers had acquired the virus there. Neither of them had worked with live SARS virus, officials said.

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