Chinese mainland reports three new SARS cases, two deaths (May 29) 

Chinese mainland logged three new SARS cases Thursday, its lowest increase in more than a month, marking the fourth day in a row of single-digit growth in infections.

The Health Ministry said two more people had died from SARS in the 24 hours to 10 a.m. Thursday. One of the deaths and all three new cases were in Beijing, the Chinese capital.

The sharp fall in the number of new cases reported in China over the past few weeks was promising, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

"We're glad to see a downward trend," said Bob Dietz, WHO spokesman in Beijing.

But, he added, "we remain very wary and, like the Chinese government, we are encouraging everyone not to drop their guard."

Government officials said the declining trend in new cases -- especially in Beijing where more than 100 fresh infections were being reported daily early this month -- was encouraging, but it was too early to ease its battle against SARS.

Chinese mainland has had 327 deaths from the flu-like severe acute respiratory syndrome virus and 5,325 cases.

Dietz praised control measures in several cities and provinces the WHO has visited, but said the situation could still turn sour.

"We look with concern at the situations in Toronto and Taiwan and hope that they don't happen here," he said. "The possibility is there. No one knows this disease yet."

The government, fearful SARS would spread into the countryside where two-thirds of China's 1.3 billion people live and health care facilities are poor, has put the ubiquitous network into high gear to prevent that.

Chinese President Hu Jintao declared war on SARS, demanded full disclosure about the disease and sacked the health minister and the mayor of Beijing on April 20.

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Submit by CEIN  News on 29.05.2003