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Migrants Return to Cities After SARS
Chinese cities hit by the SARS outbreak are set for another indicator they are triumphing over the infection, winning back rural migrant workers.

Xia Jizhi, president of China Labor Society said, quoted by Saturday's China Daily, that "We anticipate that millions of migrant workers will flock to urban areas to seek their fortunes from July, despite many staying at home with a wait-and-see approach."

Only 12 percent, or 1.36 million, of those who returned to their home villages after SARS spread in urban areas have returned to cities over the past two weeks, said the State Family Planning and Population Commission Friday.

A survey by the commission shows that a total of 9 million others, or 73 percent of the total, stay at home for the time being.

But Xia said that this scenario is bound to change, as the flu-like epidemic comes increasingly under control in cities.

Urban residents are shrugging off worries and anxieties and beginning to shop with fervor again.

Given that up to 70 percent of the incomes of farmers in many provinces are derived from their work in cities, rural residents have seen a large dent placed in their earnings by SARS, said Han Jun, an expert with the State Council's Development Research Center.

With regard to where migrant workers will choose to work after SARS has been fully contained, the State Family Planning and Population Commission's survey found that 84 percent of those who had already returned to cities went back to where they fled from.

But farmers should not flock to Beijing, which has reported no new infection cases only recently.

A 20-day observation period is usually necessary to see if the infection will rebound in a city recording no new cases, according to medical experts.

Between late April and May alone, 8 million itinerant workers returned to their home villages, according to Vice Minster of Agriculture Liu Jian.

Those who stayed in urban areas were given free treatment if they were diagnosed or suspected of having contracted SARS, said Liu, who is also director of the rural division of the national anti-SARS headquarters.

(Xinhua News Agency June 21, 2003)

Returned Migrant Workers Seek New Jobs at Home
SARS Dampens Job Market, Migrant Workers in Dilemma
North China City Steps up Rural SARS Control Measures
Beijing to Step up Quarantine As Floating Population Rises
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