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SARS Not Fading in China

The World Health Organization says the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome epidemic is showing no signs of fading in China. Melinda Smith has the latest.

Chinese officials say quarantines on 3 Beijing hospitals and a residential neighborhood have been lifted, cutting the number of people isolated in the Chinese capital to about 10,000.

But China reported 10 more SARS fatalities Tuesday, raising the death toll on the mainland to 262.

In the Philippines, World Health Organization official Peter Cordingley expressed concern about the situation in China.

“We have two worries inside China: One is Beijing where the virus got hold and nobody was talking about it - the Chinese authorities were keeping quiet about it and the price that is being paid now is that Beijing basically has lots and lots of outbreaks, and lots of problems. The other problem inside China is the provinces, particularly the western ones, the more remote ones which have very poor health facilities."

Meanwhile, in Beijing small privately run businesses are also feeling the impact of SARS. City officials have shut down discos, karaoke bars, movie theaters, and internet cafes.

This beauty salon owner is trying to carry on despite SARS. Like many other small business owners she has ordered her staff to take special precautions to put worried customers at ease hoping that cleanliness will lure people back.

"We can't just shut down because we are afraid of SARS.”

With no sign yet of SARS under control in China, it could be sometime before activity returns to normal for Beijing’s smaller businesses.

In Taiwan health authorities announced 13 new SARS cases Tuesday, as quarantines were extended for some residents of a Tapei housing complex. Officials now say the disease has spread throughout the island.

The World Health Organization’s Peter Cordingley says the W.H.O. is trying to find out why outbreaks are still occurring there.

The W.H.O says it is close to lifting its travel advisory for Hong Kong. Several areas of China, including Beijing, remain under a travel advisory.