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SARS sends "Wake Up Call" to the World as Outbreak Spreads - 2003-05-06

The World Health Organization fears SARS—Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome—still may be spreading, and it appears to be getting worse in China. Laura Keel has details.

Gro Harlem Brundtland told a news conference in Brussels that SARS has been a “wake up call” to the world, adding that the outbreak in China is still getting worse.

"If we look at China, there still is a considerable number of cases, every day. And in a number of provinces. So certainly, we have not seen a peak in China yet.”

In China, the government Tuesday reported eight deaths and 138 new cases of SARS, 70 of them in Beijing. A spokesman for the city of Beijing said dozens of Beijing hospitals are being converted to care for SARS patients and urged officials not to ease up in fighting the disease.

Hong Kong reported another six deaths from the virus, and Taiwan had one more death. The World Health Organization says its advisories against traveling to Hong Kong and parts of China remain in effect.

The European Union's health commissioner says the EU needs greater powers to deal with the spread of communicable diseases like SARS. David Byrne says SARS is a warning for the European Union, where there are no common rules on responding to the spread of a disease. Mr. Byrne was speaking at an emergency meeting of EU health ministers in Brussels.