Beijing mass exodus

This article deserves to be quoted in full:

BEIJING (Reuters) – A sea of people in white masks thronged Beijing railway stations on Wednesday as hundreds of students and migrant workers tried to flee from China’s capital following the outbreak of SARS.

Disinfection squads spread across the mammoth nation as the government stepped up the war against the disease.

Armies of workers in masks and rubber gloves and armed with spray guns spritzed down airports and planes, buses and terminals, trains and stations.

The government canceled domestic travel tours, sent teams of medical experts to the provinces to contain the virus and canceled classes for Beijing’s 1.7 million school students.

The World Health Organization has said the disease, already present in 19 cities, provinces and regions, could explode across the country of 1.3 billion people if sharp measures were not taken to curb it.

Worried migrant workers and university students flocked to train and bus stations and airports in the hope of getting out of Beijing, where the government has raised the number of cases from 37 to 588 in three days, out of the country’s 2,158.

The city of 14 million people has also reported 666 suspected cases and 28 deaths. Ninety seven people have died across the country so far.

Hundreds of travelers lugging suitcases clogged the square in front of Beijing Railway Station in hopes of getting on one of the dozens of train going to the north, south and west.

A sea of faces in white cotton masks scanned coveted train tickets, waiting for hours outside in the open, chilly air rather than linger in crowded, enclosed waiting rooms.

“My train doesn’t leave for another six hours, but I’m not waiting inside,” said 20-year-old Cao Shu, a student whose university halted all classes two days ago because of SARS fears. I’M SCARED”

[Courtesy The Gweilo]

The Discussion: One Comment

Abundance, like want, ruins many.

April 19, 2005 @ 1:29 am | Comment

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