China’s new position on SARS

In a dramatic turnaround, which I haven’t seen noted anywhere yet, the Central Government is acknowledging the existence of SARS throughout the country, its growing dangers and its geographical spread. This morning on CCTV, for the very first time, the announcers talked about the situation in a helpful and believable manner. No light-hearted sugar-coated testimonials from delighted tourists who love China “now that SARS is a thing of the past.”

Today the message was clear: SARS is spreading rapidly and the number of cases is rising. I was impressed, as it’s a 180-degree turn from their usual (non)”reporting.” I suspect that with the eyes of the world on the country, and with the presence of international investigators, there really was no choice if the government wanted to save even a thread of credibility.

Latest report from the American Chamber of Commerce here:


Update 29 – Situation in China, status of scientific and clinical knowledge
14 April 2003
Situation in China

China has today reported 109 new probable cases of SARS and 6 deaths, bringing the cumulative total to 1418 cases and 64 deaths. The largest number of cases occurred in Shanxi Province, where 47 new cases were reported. In addition, two provinces reported SARS cases for the first time 10 in Inner Mongolia and 3 in Fujian.

The reports indicate that the nationwide surveillance system, recently introduced by Chinese authorities, is working to detect and report cases. However, questions remain about the capacity of some provinces to cope with the challenge of SARS.

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