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SARS Cases Rise in Taiwan - 2003-05-18

In Taiwan, authorities have isolated a hospital in the capital, after a case of SARS was reported there. China says it wants to increase international cooperation in combating the disease.

For the second day in a row, Taiwan is reporting its highest daily increase in new SARS cases. After 34 new infections on Saturday, Taiwan Sunday said it confirmed 36 new SARS patients.

Health officials say SARS has now spread to a man and his wife on the outlying island of Penghu, which is administered by Taiwan. It is the first known instance of the disease spreading off of the main island.

Authorities in Taiwan's capital, Taipei, have ordered the municipal Gan-dau Hospital isolated, after a janitor there was diagnosed with SARS.

The spread of the virus is accelerating in Taiwan, which now has the third highest cumulative total of infections and deaths after mainland China and Hong Kong.

Other hard hit Asian nations, however, are seeing the spread start to slow.

China reported 28 new SARS cases on Sunday, along with two new SARS deaths, the lowest daily number of fatalities since it began reporting on the disease.

Chinese President Hu Jintao says he is ready to strengthen cooperation with the international community in the fight against SARS. China has previously come under sharp criticism for holding back information at the beginning of the SARS outbreak in Asia in March.

SARS is believed to have originated in mainland China as early as November. The country has been hardest hit by the disease, with 284 deaths and 5,233 infections.

Hong Kong reported single digit SARS figures for the 15th straight day on Sunday, with four more fatalities and three new cases. That brings Hong Kong's cumulative totals to 247 deaths and 1,713 infections.

More than 1,200 people have successfully recovered from SARS in Hong Kong, and have been discharged from medical care.

Worldwide, 630 people have died from SARS. More than 7,800 people are known to have been infected. Fears related to the disease have dealt a severe blow to East Asian economies, particularly the travel and tourism sectors.