WHO Removes Beijing from SARS List, Lifts Travel Advisory
The World Health Organization has decided to remove
Beijing from its list of SARS-infected areas and lift its
travel advisory against the city, a WHO official announced
Tuesday in Beijing.
The decision took effect
immediately, Shigeru Omi, WHO regional director for the
Western Pacific, announced at a press conference jointly
held by WHO and China's Ministry of Health.
Omi said the decision to lift the advisory was
based on consideration of factors including the number of
current SARS cases, quality of surveillance measures and the
effectiveness of prevention measures.
"WHO has decided that the travel advisory
against Beijing is lifted with immediate effect," he
said. "WHO concluded that the risk to travelers to
Beijing is now minimum."
announced that Beijing was removed from the list of areas
with recent local transmission, "because WHO concluded
that the chain of human-to-human transmission in Beijing has
is a milestone for the fight against SARS not only in China
but also the world, because from today WHO has no more
advisory against anywhere around the world," he said.
Meanwhile, the WHO official called for
continued vigilance against the disease in spite of
excellent achievements. "Surveillance has to be
maintained for at least one year," he said. Beijing had
recorded a total of 2,521 cases of severe acute respiratory
syndrome and 191 deaths as of Monday, and reported no new
SARS cases for consecutive 13 days. The Chinese mainland as
a whole reported 5,326 SARS cases and 347 deaths as of
The travel advisory was issued on the
23rd of April in order to contain the international spread
of SARS. Improvements in case detection, infection control,
and the tracing and follow-up of contacts have indicated the
disease is no longer a threat to international travelers to
order in China back to
normal Chinese Vice Minister
of Health Gao Qiang said that China's life order has
returned to normal and it is now safe to travel to any place
in the country.
Gao told the joint press
briefing that the decision made by the WHO to lift the
travel advisory on Beijing and remove Beijing off its list
of locally transmitting area of SARS marks that China's
efforts in fighting against SARS have been recognized by the
international community and the WHO, and marks the thorough
lifting of travel advisory to any province or municipality
on the Chinese mainland.
He stressed that the
WHO decision indicates that China's efforts in fighting SARS
have achieved a significant victory, and the victory is not
The health official said that the
country vows to establish an effective epidemic reporting
system that will cover various infectious diseases.
Under that system the public health department
will timely collect, analyze and report information about
any disease that is highly infectious and poses severe
danger to human health, according to Gao
reporting system will also cover measures adopted by the
government and its requirement in controlling diseases, it
will caution the public to pay attention to self protection
whenever epidemic cases are found, he said.
said that information exchange with the World Health
Organization is a very important part of the system, which
is a very effective way in controlling epidemic diseases.
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