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Letter From Dalian
By Anthony Caskey

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SARS: SARS Spreads to Northern Chinese City of Dalian
SARS: Travelers Slipping Through Cracks in 10-Day Quarantine Measures
SARS: University Officials Use Graduation Threat to Keep Students at School
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SARS: SARS Spreads to Northern Chinese City of Dalian

2003-05-12


DALIAN, China -- The northern Chinese city of Dalian on Monday reported its first two confirmed cases of SARS, one of which died on May 2.

Health officials last week were unsure whether the man who had died had the deadly virus which has killed at least 235 people in China since November, city officials said.

However, health officials ruled he was a SARS case posthumously after they determined one of his co-workers, now Dalian’s only living confirmed case, has the virus.

This city of about five million has about 100 people in quarantine, and about 200 more are being monitored, officials said.

While many Chinese businessmen on Monday continued to hide from the virus in their homes, university students expressed confidence in the measures the national, provincial and city governments in China have taken to prevent the further spread of the disease.

“Our government has taken steps to prevent the spread (of the disease),” said one student at the Dalian University of Finance and Economics.

The Dalian city government said on May 1 that all people traveling to the city from areas hard hit by the virus -- like Beijing and Guangdong Province -- are to stay in quarantine for 10 days upon arrival before they are free to move about in the city.

However, Dalian hotels, many of which have been ordered to set up areas to house guests in quarantine, reported last week that travelers from these areas are easily circumventing this order by either having a friend check them in or by staying at a friend’s house.

This is not the only preventative measure taken by the city that is being circumvented.

Vehicles from other provinces are being turned away at roadblocks on major roads into the city. However, many drivers are circumventing these roadblocks by taking minor streets without roadblocks into the city.

Other students said they have faith that science will find a way to control the disease soon.

“We are optimists,” said another DUFE student. “We don’t think SARS will last long. Science will develop a (cure) for it.”

While scientists from around the world in April mapped the genetic sequence of SARS in less than a month, they have not yet developed a test for the virus which gives an acceptably low percentage of false positives and false negatives.

Scientists are even farther away from developing a vaccine for the virus or cure for the disease.




 

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