China Quarantines Thousands of Beijing Residents As Sars Worsens

April 25, 2003


Chinese officials sealed off a second major hospital and threw up roadblocks up around Beijing today to combat the deadly virus SARS.

The government announced another five deaths and nearly 200 new cases. China’s SARS death toll is now at 115.

China yesterday quarantined thousands of Beijing residents who have had contact with suspected carriers of the deadly virus. Isolation orders were imposed on homes, factories and schools, and residents are being monitored to ensure they don’t try to flee.

Throngs of people are trying to escape at Beijing’s railway stations.

All of this comes as health advocates are trying to draw attention to malaria today, on Africa Malaria Day.

Malaria is far more deadly than SARS–the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are reporting that some 3,000 African children die every day of the disease. One million people die every year.

But malaria generally strikes impoverished people in the global South, whereas SARS appears to cross both class and country lines–with Toronto, Canada under a WHO travel advisory.

The WHO is calling for the most effective malaria drugs to be made more widely available. Even insecticide-treated mosquito nets could reduce malaria transmission by up to 60%.

  • Dan Sermand, Head of the Doctors Without Borders SARS mission in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Rachel Cohen, Head of Doctors Without Borders Access to Medicines Campaign.