- Jane Parry
- Hong Kong
The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has slowed considerably, with only 182 new cases worldwide in the week to 2 June, taking the total to 8384. However, the disease claimed another 45 lives during the week, and the death toll stood at 770 people.
The World Health Organization is cautiously optimistic that the outbreak in China is now under control and that the disease is on the decline in Taiwan, but Canada is experiencing a fresh outbreak linked to four Toronto hospitals.
“As we approach the three month mark since the global alert was issued on 12 March, we are confident that the SARS outbreak is well on its way to being contained globally,” said Peter Cordingley, WHO's spokesman in Manila.
“However, there are still pockets of anxiety, particularly in the more remote provinces of China and possibly Taiwan, and what has happened in Toronto should be a lesson to health authorities everywhere that nobody can afford to let their guard down,” he added.
By 2 June Canada had reported 198 probable cases, and the new outbreak has put Canada back on WHO's list of areas with local transmission, 12 days after it was taken off. The death toll has risen to 31, and autopsies …