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Recovered SARS patient hides from media spotlight
( 2004-01-08 16:25) (Xinhua)

The first SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) patient on the Chinese mainland since July confirmed Thursday in a mobile phone message to Xinhua that he had left hospital after fully recovering, but was reluctant to meet the Press.

"I've left the hospital," the 32-year-old freelance TV worker surnamed Luo wrote at 1:45 p.m., adding he just wanted to return to his normal life.

About 30 reporters from the domestic and overseas media gathered at the gate of the Guangzhou No. 8 People's Hospital, where Luo was treated, hoping to catch the first glimpse of him being discharged.

"We don't know whether Mr. Luo has left our hospital or not," Tang Xiaoping, the hospital president said, "but he had already finished all the discharge procedures."

"He can leave whenever he likes," Tang said, adding the medical staff in the hospital had lost contact him.

Tang said the hospital would hold a press conference at about 3 p.m. Thursday and medical experts who had treated Luo would answer questions.

Luo had complained of headaches, fever and a cough on Dec. 16 and was admitted to an isolation room at the No. 1 Hospital of the Guangzhou-based Zhongshan University on Dec. 20. He was transferred to the No. 8 People's Hospital on Dec. 24, where he maintained a normal temperature.

Luo was confirmed as a SARS patient on Jan. 5, but his condition improved daily with conventional treatment, including antibiotics and support treatment to prevent complications, from a team of about 20 medical workers at the No. 8 People's Hospital.

"It was quite a shock to realize that I might have contracted SARS, when I was sent to the isolation ward," Luo said during a previous interview with Xinhua.

All 81 people Luo had had contact with, including 42 close contacts, failed to show any symptoms of the disease, and the last was expected to be discharged from isolation Thursday, after a two-week quarantine.

Meanwhile, a waitress was confirmed Thursday to be the mainland's second suspected SARS case since July in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, local health authorities said.

The 20-year-old restaurant waitress is in quarantine and receiving treatment in No. 8 People's Hospital.

The woman from central Henan Province reported symptoms of fever on Dec. 26 last year.

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