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Hong Kong Students Return After SARS Closures - 2003-05-19

Hundreds of thousands of primary and kindergarten students returned to class In Hong Kong Monday following a 7-week school closure to limit the spread Of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Meanwhile, China is seeing fewer cases of SARS. Brian Purchia has the latest.

Children in Hong Kong were excited to return to school.

"I was disappointed…Because I couldn't come to school. I missed school. I missed all my little school mates."

The teachers were also happy to return.

"All I can feel is the excitement, the cheer, the joy of returning back to school."

However, there are some new guidelines…Students and teachers must wear surgical masks and have their temperatures checked daily.

Hong Kong, which has the world's second-highest number of SARS victims after mainland China, suspended classes at the end of March.

The territory has reported four more SARS deaths, but only one new infection. Taiwan is now the only place with an accelerating outbreak of SARS. It reported its second record increase in cases in as many days on Sunday.

Meanwhile, China announced five new SARS deaths and 12 additional cases Monday; its lowest one-day toll of new SARS cases in weeks. But the World Health Organization says it still thinks authorities in Beijing are not fully disclosing the extent of the SARS crisis there.

The W.H.O. is now meeting in Geneva and is expressing serious concern about possible new epidemics of life-threatening infectious diseases during the 21st century.