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WHO: China Needs to Take Many Basic Steps to Improve SARS Situation - 2003-04-28


World Health Organization experts in China say there is still much they do not know in the fight against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. They say China needs to take many basic steps before the situation starts to improve.

International experts say China's ability to provide timely information remains a key issue in the worldwide fight against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

World Health Organization researchers say they have told Chinese officials that several critical issues must be addressed. They include better communication among government agencies, the need to quickly provide usable data on cases, accurate figures on the number of hospital beds in Beijing, and precise details of infection control procedures.

"We need to do some further research about some of the spreading of the disease, and I think it is a very crucial point that further investigation is needed," said Dr. Henk Bekedam, WHO's chief representative in Beijing.

For the experts, having reliable information means being able to track how the disease is spreading and what measures are effective in fighting it.

In Beijing, the government reported 96 new cases, with the number of deaths rising to 59. The Chinese capital has reported 1,200 SARS cases.

The disease has infected more than 3,000 people in China, killing 139, since it first appeared late last year in southern China.