Fri, May 30, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Health chief looks to take Taiwan off advisory list

CNA , TAIPEI

Department of Health (DOH) Director-General Chen Chien-jen (程建仁) said yesterday he hopes Taiwan can be removed from the World Health Organization's (WHO) travel advisory list by June 20.

Chen said Taiwan must meet five criteria to qualify for removal from the list: The daily new SARS caseload must fall below five; the number of hospitalized SARS patients must be less than 60; the outbreak must show signs of waning; no cross-border transmissions must be reported; and all probable cases must be traced to their origins.

According to tallies compiled by the DOH's Center for Disease Control (CDC), the number of newly reported SARS cases has remained stable at around 10 per day for the past week and only five or less are classified as probable SARS cases. Nevertheless, the CDC reported 50 probable cases yesterday.

CDC Director Su Yi-jen (蘇益仁) said he has set several goals to pave the way for the nation's removal from the WHO advisory list, including eliminating cluster transmissions among frontline medical staff by June 1 and bringing the daily probable SARS caseload to below 10 by June 10.

Su said hospitalized patients who have tested negative for SARS will be moved out of negative pressure quarantine wards over the next few days.

As of yesterday morning, Taiwan had tallied 660 probable SARS cases, including 81 related deaths. Most of yesterday's 50 reported new cases were reclassified from suspected cases.

In preparation for a 10-day nationwide temperature-taking campaign that will kick off Sunday as part of the SARS prevention campaign, Su said his center has distributed ear thermometers to grassroots ward chief offices to facilitate enforcement of the program.

The campaign is aimed at encouraging people to have their temperatures taken twice a day to help detect potential SARS carriers early enough to contain the spread of the disease. Fever is one of the early symptoms of SARS.

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