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Taiwan Reports 50 New SARS Cases


Taiwan is reporting 50 new cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome cases, but the government says the new infections are a result of reclassification and not a fresh outbreak.

For six days Taiwan reported a significant drop in the numbers of new Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome patients, with only 11 cases Tuesday and 14 Wednesday.

But Taipei announced 50 new cases of SARS one day after World Health Organization officials said the island was getting the disease under control.

A spokesman for Taiwan's anti-SARS campaign says the cases are not a new outbreak, but reflect a backlog of 40 cases that were misdiagnosed.

Elsewhere in Asia the number of new SARS cases continue to decline. A WHO expert praised China's prevention measures in Shanghai following a three-day visit to the region.

China reported its lowest daily number of new cases, with three new cases and two deaths.

China recently instituted new laws to curb spitting in public and will fine or arrest people who appear to hinder anti-SARS efforts. The government also continued its crackdown on markets that sell wild animals. Health experts have traced SARS to wild cats used as food in some parts of China.

There have been at least 325 deaths in China linked to SARS, and more than 5,300 people have been infected. China is the hardest hit area in the world.

In Hong Kong, the government reported two new cases and three deaths. It is the 15th consecutive day Hong Kong has had fewer than five new SARS cases.

Hong Kong's Director of Health, Dr. Margaret Chan, is monitoring the case of two patients who recently passed through Hong Kong en route to Los Angeles and showed symptoms of the disease after getting off the airplane.

"Both of them, because of fever, were admitted into hospital for observation," she said. "The small child is afebrile, that means… there is no more fever. As for the adult female, she is still under observation and is being evaluated."

Hong Kong's top executives, including Tung Chee-hwa, attended a funeral service for healthcare worker Tan Heung-mei, who contracted the virus while treating SARS patients. She was buried in a cemetery reserved for those who die while exhibiting exceptional courage.

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