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Beijing Carries out Large-scale Sterilization to Prevent Spread of SARS
Beijing's health authority has ordered intense epidemic control measures and launched massive disinfection work to sanitize the city, the municipal health bureau said Sunday.

As of April 11, the city had sterilized 17,114 vehicles and a large part of Capital International Airport. The sterilization was also enforced in public places including schools, markets, taxis, passenger trains, railway stations and entertainment places.

More large-scale disinfection work has also been undertaken in the city's districts and counties, bureau officials said.

Since the first case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was confirmed in early March in Beijing, the municipal government has given top priority to tackling the problem and formed a 24-hour presiding team led by Liu Qi, secretary of the Beijing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, and Beijing Mayor Meng Xuenong to coordinate efforts to combat SARS.

Medical experts from eight major local hospitals were called onto give instructions and help ease the worries of the public.

The health bureau quickly worked out guidelines and work plans to handle emergencies. A monitoring network was also quickly set up to keep watch on the epidemic and to spot those infected so they could be treated as soon as possible, the bureau said.

Moreover, the health authority has mobilized a survey team of 2,500 medical staff to go house-to-house to publicize the knowledge and information on SARS prevention and control.

By Saturday, the city had issued 1.5 million paper notices, telling tourists how to prevent the disease and where they can get needed medical services.

For foreigners in Beijing, a 24-hour hotline in English was made available for prevention and treatment information, according to the bureau.

(Xinhua News Agency April 14, 2003)

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