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SARS cases surge in Asia

 Kuala Lumpur, march 28, IRNA -- Mysterious flu-like disease is        
spreading by "leaps and bounds" around the world with Singapore       
shutting all schools and Hong Kong considering an emergency           
quarantine.                                                           
    The epidemic bumped the Iraq war off the front pages as the top   
newspaper story in Singapore.                                         
    As of Friday, the number of people infected with Severe Acute     
Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) jumped to 1,323 in more than a dozen      
countries, double the figure last week.                               
    The global death toll from SARS soared to 53 after China belatedly
disclosed casualty figures.                                           
    Malaysia has been commended by the World Health Organisation      
(WHO) for its swift plan of action in checking the occurrence of      
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).                             
    Health Minister Chua Jui Meng confirmed that there were two SARS  
cases in the country so far and both of them are working in Singapore.
    More than 50 cases had been reported in neighbouring Singapore.   
    In a letter addressed to the Ministry's deputy director-general   
of health, acting WHO representative Joel A. Vanderburg said the      
organisation "greatly appreciates" preparation made by the ministry to
inform and educate the public, the aviation industry and healthcare   
professionals to safeguard public health.                             
    From Guangdong, the disease crept to nearby Hong Kong, from       
where travelers transported the virus all the way to North America and
Europe.                                                               
    Besides Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore have been most affected  
but cases have been seen or suspected in Taiwan, Thailand, France,    
Germany, Italy, Canada, the United States and elsewhere.              
    The disease has claimed 10 lives in Hong Kong, four in Vietnam,   
three in Beijing, two in Singapore and three in Canada.               
BN/BH/AR                                                              
End                                                                   

last Update Friday, 28-Mar-2003 03:53:48 PST
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