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SARS 'Under Effective Control' says China - 2003-04-03

Beijing officials say the serious illness called SARS is under control in China, making it safe to visit the country. The comments follow travel warnings issued by U.N. experts about the new flu-like disease, which has sickened more than 2,000 people and killed nearly 80 people worldwide.

China's Health Minister Zhang Wenkang says the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, is "under effective control" in some parts of China.

China's top doctor says people all over China and in Guangdong province are living and working in normal fashion.

Experts from the World Health Organization think SARS may have originated in Guangdong province in the south.

The government says SARS has killed 46 people in China, and sickened almost 1,200, mostly in Guangdong.

Minister Zhang urges travelers who have canceled business or vacation trips to China to reconsider their decisions.

He also says that China has learned many valuable lessons about preventing and treating SARS, and offers to share this information with other nations.

He says clinical experience shows a combination of traditional Chinese and Western medications seem to help. More than a dozen countries around the world report cases of the mysterious disease, along with some deaths.

Meanwhile, a team of World Health Organization experts made their way from Beijing to Guangdong to investigate the disease. A report from Guangdong says the WHO team thinks the number of SARS cases is declining overall, although some new ones are showing up.

The researchers hope to interview patients and their doctors during the next few days.

The WHO team had to wait weeks for permission to visit the province. China's slow and secretive response to what has become a global public health emergency has drawn criticism from other nations.