Singapore sounded the all clear after its latest SARS scare yesterday, lifting mandatory home quarantine orders on 75 people who came into contact with a visitor from Taiwan with the deadly flu-like virus. \nThe health ministry in the Southeast Asian city-state, the only other country to report a case since an outbreak that killed hundreds of people worldwide was pronounced over in July, said six people who fell ill did not have SARS. \nIn Taiwan, initial findings showed that the military scientist diagnosed with SARS was likely to have contracted the virus on Dec. 6, a day before he left for Singapore, as he tried to disinfect a trash bag in his lab. \nSingapore's health ministry said 75 people who came into contact with the scientist during his four-day visit to the city-state had been released from 10-days home quarantine overnight. \n"Everyone who was on home quarantine in line with the 10-day virus incubation period was released from quarantine at midnight and can go back to normal activities immediately," a spokeswoman said. \nTo date, no one has development a vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome, or a cure. \nThe Taiwan case is only the second since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared in July that the last outbreak of the disease was over -- and both have been traced to laboratories. \nA 27-year-old Singaporean medical student who tested positive for the potentially lethal disease after a laboratory accident in September 9 has since recovered. \nSingapore was the first city to begin mass quarantines in the last SARS outbreak, isolating 8,000 people, monitoring some with cameras, and threatening jail time and fines if they left home. \nThe 44-year-old Taiwanese scientist tested positive for SARS this week, fanning fears of a resurgence of the disease in Asia, which bore the brunt of a virulent outbreak of the virus earlier this year. The man is now in stable condition. \nAfter emerging in southern China late last year, SARS infected 8,000 people in nearly 30 countries, killing about 800, mostly in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Canada. Many of Asia's economies were battered. \nOf the 75 quarantined this time in Singapore, six had fallen ill and were admitted to the city state's Communicable Disease Centre, the ministry spokeswoman said. \n"All the six have been diagnosed as non-SARS. They remain well but are being kept under observation," she added. \nAlthough criticized by some as draconian, Singapore's measures to contain the spread of the virus earned the nation of 4 million won praise from the WHO for bringing the outbreak under control. \n"In the latest outbreak what Singapore has done has WHO's full support and we congratulate them on the swift conclusion to this scare," Peter Cordingly, WHO spokesman, said in a telephone interview from Manila. \nSince the first outbreak of SARS, when Asian countries exhibited varying degrees of efficiency in handling the crisis, the WHO has stepped up its long-standing encouragement of cooperation between laboratories working to create vaccines. \n"We always said that if there were a new infectious disease, labs should work together. And they did work together," Cordingly said, adding that the labs' cooperation had slackened. \n"Since the outbreak ended in July, an element of competition and commercial rivalry seems to have been introduced into the scenario," he added. \n"We understand this, but we're hoping we can return to the days of full cooperation between the member labs," he said.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
SHOW OF SOLIDARITY: The publisher’s ‘Apple Daily’ newspaper has had to raise the number of copies printed from 70,000 to 550,000 to meet a huge surge in demand They have occupied Hong Kong’s central business district, marched by the hundreds of thousands through the territory’s streets and endured tear gas and pepper spray in pitched battles with riot police. Hong Kong’s pro-democracy supporters are now wielding a new protest weapon: their stock-market trading accounts. To show support for Jimmy Lai (黎智英), the publisher and outspoken government critic who was on Monday arrested under the territory’s new national security legislation, Hong Kongers have been piling into shares of his media company Next Digital. The result: a more than 1,100 percent surge in two days that propelled the stock to a seven-year