SLUG: 2-302917 Asia SARS Wrap (S&L)
TITLE=ASIA SARS (S&L)
INTRO: China's prime minister sees the SARS situation in Beijing as "grave," despite progress in the fight against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. V-O-A's Katherine Maria reports on developments in the SARS outbreak in Asia.
TEXT: Prime Minister Wen Jiabao warned Beijing health officials to commit themselves to the fight against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or be "punished."
China on Tuesday reported eight deaths and 138 new cases, 70 of them in Beijing. The capital is the worst-affected city, with nearly half of China's 43-hundred cases. At least 216 people have died in China from SARS.
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Beijing's Communist Party spokesman Cai Fuchao said dozens of Beijing hospitals are being converted to care for SARS patients.
The U-S telecommunications manufacturer Motorola shut down its Beijing offices after a staff member came down with symptoms related to SARS.
China is quarantining 16-thousand people, while Taipei has confined more than 10-thousand people to their homes to prevent the spread of the disease.
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Taipei's mayor extended all home quarantines to 14 days instead of the previous 10-day isolation period.
Two epidemiologists from the World Health Organization are in Taipei investigating the SARS infections in four hospitals, where more than 100 patients are being treated. At least 10 SARS patients have died in Taiwan.
Peter Cordingly is a W-H-O spokesman.
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There are three hospitals that we now understand have clusters among the health workers. That is what we are concerned about.
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/// OPT /// Hong Kong reported nine new SARS cases. The death toll increased by six to reach 193. The city has the world's second largest outbreak, with more than 16-hundred victims.
The Philippines also reported at least seven possible SARS cases after days of no new infections. /// END OPT ///
Globally SARS has infected 65-hundred people and killed more than 460. (SIGNED)
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