Wed, May 28, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Canadian officials revise anti-SARS check measures


Canadian officials conceded that precautions at Toronto hospitals weren't enough to prevent new SARS infections yesterday, while China appeared to be over the worst of the outbreak.

Since emerging in November in southern China, the virus has infected more than 8,200 people worldwide, and the death toll stood yesterday at 725.

China on Monday announced eight new SARS cases and two deaths -- its lowest daily increases since the height of its outbreak.

The hard-hit Chinese capital has reported steadily falling numbers of new cases.

The WHO put Canada's largest city back on its list of SARS-affected places, after health officials there reported eight new cases and 26 suspected cases in clusters linked to four hospitals.

Toronto health authorities were scrambling to limit any further possible spread while investigating how the new cases slipped through upgraded monitoring.

They re-imposed strict controls on hospitals -- closing those where the new cases were found to new patients and limiting access to emergency rooms in all others, with staff required to wear protective masks and gowns and take the temperature of anyone entering.

"What it tells us at the moment is that there is a failure in our system of management," said Dr. Allison McGeer, head of infection control of the city's Mount Sinai Hospital.

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