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Employees Get Protection
No new SARS cases were reported in Shanghai yesterday, keeping the tally at seven, including one deceased 68-year-old man.

There was one new suspected case, while one patient was discharged from the suspect list, keeping the number of suspected patients at 13, including a Japanese citizen.

Yesterday morning, the Shanghai government convened a meeting to review its fight against the epidemic and map out work to be done in the days ahead.

At the moment, the SARS epidemic is "under control" and the city's social and economic development is "healthy and stable," officials at the meeting said.

The government also released a set of measures to ensure people affected by SARS don't lose their jobs and can get timely treatment without financial hassles.

The measures include:

Employers cannot sack people who are diagnosed with SARS, suspected of having the disease or put under clinical or medical observation.

A government-run fund will advance overdue salaries and social security fees of employers at companies closing down because of SARS. The money will be paid back after liquidation.

SARS patients, suspect SARS patients and people under clinical or medical observation are entitled to normal pay and welfare.

A government-run employment fund will provide interest rebates and financial guarantees for start-up businesses affected by SARS. Subsidies will be issued to agencies providing disinfection services in communities.

Companies hit hard by SARS can apply to delay their payments to the social security fund for three months.

SARS patients, suspect SARS patients and people under clinical observation will have their hospital bills paid by the government even if they don't participate in the nation's medical insurance fund.

(eastday.com May 13, 2003)

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