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China issues SARS warning as winter nears
Updated: 2004-10-27 14:46

China's Ministry of Health has issued emergency instructions to hospitals nationwide to isolate patients suffering from severe respiratory diseases to prevent a winter recurrence of SARS, a newspaper said on Wednesday.

The instructions were given as the number of respiratory cases increases with the onset of cold weather, the Beijing Youth Daily said.

"The notice urged all local health organs to do a good job early in diagnosing and treating respiratory infections this winter and next spring to prevent the spread of SARS, bird flu and other infectious disease," it said.

The notice urged hospitals to isolate respiratory disease patients where necessary and to conduct autopsies on bodies of victims of respiratory infections if the cause of death was not clear.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome reportedly emerged in China's southern Guangdong province in November 2002 and was soon spread by travelers worldwide.

The disease eventually killed some 800 people around the world, 300 of them in China, and infected about 8,000, dealing a severe blow to several Asian economies.

Nine people were confirmed infected with SARS in April this year in Beijing and Anhui province and one died.

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