The World Health Organization says Taiwan now has the world's fastest-growing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak, as the death toll on the island has risen to 52. In Mainland China, meanwhile health officials say anti-SARS measures in the capital are working. Brian Purchia has the latest.
More than 90 percent of SARS cases in Taiwan can be traced to hospital infections. Dozens of hospital staff have quit recently in protest of what they consider to be inadequate protection from the virus. Taiwanese Legislator Hsiao Bi-Khim.
HSIAO BI-KHIM, TAIWANESE LEGISLATOR
“Today, our doctors and nurses are dying and we need your support. We hope the world can support Taiwan because without Taiwan the network to jointly fight contagious diseases in the age of globalization will never be complete."
Taiwan reported 39 new SARS cases and 12 more deaths Tuesday.
In China, SARS has inspired a government-led crackdown on the streets of Beijing to stop spitting and other public hygiene threats.
UNIDENTIFIED STREET MANAGEMENT OFFICIAL
“First of all, we criticize and educate the person who has been caught spitting, then we fine him, and after that, we ask him to clean away his spit right there on the spot."
Chinese officials in Beijing say their anti-SARS measures are working. On Monday only seven new cases of SARS were reported in Beijing; the lowest number in more than a month.
The World Health Organization says it still thinks authorities in Beijing are not fully disclosing the extent of the SARS crisis there. But China insisted its reporting of SARS cases is reliable, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Zhang Qiyue (JAHNG CHEE YOO-WEH).
ZHANG QIYUE, FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON
“The central government has emphasized that anyone who tries to hide or misinform the public will be punished by law.”
Mainland China reported a total of 5 SARS deaths and 17 new cases Tuesday.
In other SARS developments a Russian soldier with SARS symptoms was taken off a train in Siberia Monday. The soldier had been serving on Russia’s border with China.
And a Canadian medical team has arrived in Hong Kong to exchange information and experience in the fight against SARS.