Passengers to be screened
Hundreds of military doctors, paramedics and nurses will be deployed at all major Malaysian airports to screen passengers for SARS, a report said yesterday. The defense ministry had agreed to the plan during a meeting of the national SARS control meeting, said the health ministry's deputy director-general Ismail Merican. "We hope to get figures of how many people they can provide by Monday," he was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times newspaper. Ismail said the deployment of military personnel was necessary to ensure stringent screening of passengers from SARS-affected countries. Malaysia has taken a series of tough measures to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
Inmate faked rheumatism
A prisoner in Hubei faked rheumatism for 13 years so he could stay in bed in the comfort of the jail hospital, a news report in Hong Kong said yesterday. The convicted murderer eventually admitted lying about his condition when he grew tired of lying in bed but found he could no longer stand because his muscles had wasted away, the South China Morning Post reported.
Foreign adoptions suspended
The country has suspended foreign adoptions for fear prospective parents arriving from abroad may spread the flu-like SARS virus, the China Center of Adoption Affairs said. The center said on its Web site www.china-ccaa.org on Thursday that it had stopped sending documents to parents hoping to adopt children in China. Those who have already received permission to adopt in China should postpone their trips if possible, it said. The suspension did not apply to foreigners working in China. An official at the adoption center said several thousand Chinese children are adopted by foreigners each year.
■ The Philippines
The Philippines' education department has decided to postpone the start of elementary and high-school classes by at least one week to allow schools to prepare for the threat of SARS, an official said yesterday. Education Undersecretary Ramon Bacani said that while teachers and school administration staff will start to report on June 9 as scheduled, regular classes in the elementary and high-school levels would only start on June 16.
Man returns from the dead
A man believed to have been killed in a traffic accident and then cremated suddenly reappeared in his home village in northeastern Thailand, where horrified residents believed he was a ghost and shunned him, news reports said yesterday. Police had informed the family and friends of Thanom Wongsupheng, 35, that he was killed in January in a motorcycle accident in Bangkok. The victim's battered body was cremated after a funeral at a Buddhist temple in Ban Maed village in Roy Et Province, 400km northeast of Bangkok. When Thanom returned home for a visit late Tuesday night he was greeted with horror by relatives who believed he had returned from the dead. Police Captain Surasak Pan-on was quoted by The Nation newspaper as saying Thanom's identification card had been found on the body of the accident victim, leading to the misunderstanding. Thanom, who had been working as a security guard in Bangkok, said he had lost his identity card and failed to apply for a new one.
UK confirms SARS case
A case of the deadly respiratory disease SARS has been confirmed in Britain for the first time, British health officials said on Thursday, stressing that there was no risk of the patient infecting others. The Health Protection Agency said the patient, whose identity and location was not revealed, was no longer considered in danger, and there was no risk that they had passed the disease to anyone else. The patient was one of eight people in all who have been classified as probable SARS cases in Britain since the outbreak of the virus. Four people have been removed from the list to date, leaving three probables and the confirmed case.