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Sars checks centre closes, controls lifted

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Medics still watch for cold-like symptoms

The Public Health Ministry yesterday closed the Sars monitoring centre and ended control measures following the World Health Organisation’s release of Taiwan from the list of areas affected by the disease.The move came after three months of stringent control measures at 27 immigration checkpoints throughout the country in which special emphasis was placed on Bangkok’s Don Muang airport.Public Health Minister Sudarat Keyuraphan said since Taiwan was the last country to be removed from WHO’s list on July 5, there was no need to continue to screen passengers coming into the country.”We consider the situation safe now, where the spread of Sars is concerned, but we will not be careless,” said Mrs Sudarat.Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s promise to pay two million baht to anybody who died of Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in the country would be valid until November.But Mrs Sudarat said health authorities had been asked to keep an eye out for pneumonia and other Sars-like symptoms to make sure the disease does not return, especially during the cold months.Until July next year, health authorities would have to pay close attention to all pneumonia cases, specially passengers travelling from countries earlier listed as Sars-affected areas, she said.Charal Trinvuthipong, director-general of the Disease Control Department, said health officials should closely monitor all pneumonia cases because Sars symptoms are very similar to pneumonia and most patients suffering from Sars can recover from the illness on their own.While the centre was in operation, about 525,000 people were checked, 80% of them foreigners. Forty people were suspected of having Sars, nine were listed as probable Sars patients and two people died of the disease in Thailand.About 1,000 people were placed in quarantine for 10 to 14 days on suspicion of having Sars or coming into contact with a suspected case.The government spent 88 million baht on measures to prevent and control the disease. Tourism is now recovering after a sudden drop caused by the outbreak. (Source: Bangkok Post, Aphaluck Bhatiasevi , 24 July 2003)

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Dates

Posted On: 24 July, 2003
Modified On: 5 December, 2013


Created by: myVMC