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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Taiwan is Taking Drastic Steps to Control SARS

Aired May 13, 2003 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We begin the timeline in the overnight hours, and the fight in Taiwan to try to control the outbreak of SARS. Health officials there reported another six possible victims of the disease. That puts the island's death toll at 30. There are also 6,000 people in quarantine. Mike Chinoy says the country is going to great lengths to try and control the illness.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE CHINOY, CNN BUREAU CHIEF FOR HONG KONG (voice-over): In Taipei, they pulled out the army, soldiers deployed to disinfect the streets as Taiwan's government moves to intense fight battle against SARS. With a sharp increase in new cases and a rising death ratings the new measures are visible everywhere you look, at hospitals where the disease has taken the greatest toll, arriving patients and/or visitors must now have their temperatures taken before being admitted.

The reason we've taken these steps says this Dong Pachew (ph) of the infection control unit of the hospital is to reduce the danger of the virus spreading. Similar procedures are in place at virtually all public buildings from department stores to schools to hotels. And commuters now face a fine if they don't wear a mask when riding the Taipei subway. I approve of this regulation, says this woman, it protects me and others. One of the biggest problems has been lacks enforcement of quarantine regulations, but here too there are signs of change. These teachers at Taipei American School have been ordered to stay home because of colleagues suspected of having SARS. They report the authorities are monitoring their situation rigorously.

VIRGINIA FORD, QUARANTINED TEACHER: They've come to the house to take my temperature. They call me every day ask if I'm OK. Christina, these very sweet, and so it's very nice. I appreciate what they've done.

CHINOY (on camera): This aggressive new approach comes not a moment too soon, but sources close to the SARS effort say questions remain about the extent which the virus is spreading in the community at large, and whether the authorities have sufficient trained personnel and adequate crisis management plans in place should the outbreak take another turn for the worse.

Mike Chinoy, CNN, Taipei.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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