Category Archives: Sars

With SARS, All We Have is Time

This moring, when I chat with my friend Willie Liu of CultureXChina.com on MSN Messenger, he quoted:

With SARS, All We Have is Time

He is absolutely right.

Long holiday, no outting

May holiday used to be called “Golden Week”, millions of people goes out to their dream travel destinations. With SARS, all travel lines to outside Shanghai paused, including the nearby areas (Chinese site).

What would you do?

If you have a long vacation of 5 days and you cannot go anywhere outside the city, and you need to avoid any public places in the city, what will you do?

Willie bought a bicycle and rode it for 5 hours yesterday – well, a very nice way to recreation. My wife and I went to the near by Kangjian Park and flew a kite for the whole morning on the large grass land. In the afternoon, we walked to IKEA – it is about 20 minutes’ walk and bought some new chairs, tables and lamps and set them up in the Yangtai. (we regret that we went to IKEA since 40% of the customers were wearing masks – so we also put on our masks – it is really uncomfortable.)

With so much time, we tried lots things we have never tried before. We even wandering on the nearby streets and finally reached many new territories. We discovered some new stores and new parks near our house, really surprising.

The city is very considerate. I heard the Finance Channel of Shanghai TV even changed all their scheduled finance programs and began to broadcast soap-opera continuously for the who afternoon, just to entertain the boring people staying at home.

The government is suggesting everyone to stay at home and read books. I read almost all the advertisement on my newspapers. Then I begin to read some books that were bought years ago – well, it is all because we have nothing to do.

What is S.A.R.S

S.A.R.S. means Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

Now it also means

S-Support

A-Amor

R-Responsibility

S-Solidification

Quoted from Peking University News Net via Xinhua Net via KLOGS.

Check out the pictures of the doctors fighting with SARS on the first line (via KLOGS).

Appendix: SARS Daily Report 10:00 PM, May 2, 2003 (source)

New:179 (Beijing:96, Shanghai:0) Total:3799

First Day of May Holiday

Recently, most of the days are sunny. The spring comes to Shanghai. It is exactly the best time for outing. If there were no such SARS disease, millions of people should have started their travel to various tour destinations. Now, most of the plans were cancelled.

I have get used to the impact of SARS

The anxiousity will release with time passing by – the situation didn’t go worse in Shanghai. The disinfection and precautions are confirmed while the rumor did get confirmed (which means they are rumor in fact).

Taxi disinfection confirmed by other sources

I talked with taxi drivers to get first hand information about the city. Today, Arwen told us that “two managers have been fired due to their careless and ignorance of disinfection”.

Luo’s dinner in Hongkong

I focused more on Beijing and Shanghai than on Hongkong. My reader Luo shared with us about his dinner experience in Hongkong.

As with Shanghai, all the waiters and food handlers are required to wear surgical masks. They are suppose to keep the dishes covered until they are brought to your table.

Leaving China

These days, many expat leaves the city they live in China. Anna, our top commenter in April, has decided to return to Phlippines. It is tough because they need to give themself a 10-day quarantine before they can see their relatives and return to their own home. But I appreciate their actions. This is the attitude of responsibility to others.

Caroline, another active reader, has decided to send her kids and hubby back to U.S.

I believe they are not the only two expats who decided to leave (or ask family to leave). I hope the SARS crisis will end very soon so they can come back again.

SARS Epidemic Map in China and Beijing

Today, DigitalBeijing gave two diagrams of SARS epidemic.

Appendix: Top 10 commentor of the Month – April

I have posted the top 10 commentor (from the Sept 11, 2003 to April 3, 2003) at the begining of this month. One month has past. I want to post the list of top 10 commentor for April, 2003.

anna 29

Caroline 23

Luo 15

Shanghai Knight 9

Mainlander 8

Zhao 7

yo 7

Hao 7

Tim 6

Totally, 157 persons (distinguished by display name) posted 437 comments in April. Thanks for everyone to participate in this website. I have decided to give Top Commenter of the Month award to the top 3 commenters of every month.

screen-top.commenter.of.the.month-logo.PNG

So the April’s award winners are anna, Caroline and Luo.

Appendix: SARS Daily Report 10:00 PM, May 1, 2003 (source)

New:187 (Beijing:122, Shanghai:0) Total:3638

SARS Shanghai – April Review

It is the worst of time. April is the hard time for people in China – among the worst in my life (26 years). The impact to everyone’s life is comparable with the year of 1989 and the flood in 1998. Today is the last day in April so we have some time to review the whole SARS event in this month – actually, all major events related to SARS happened in the month of April in China.

To open the links in this page in a new browser window, press SHIFT key while clicking on the links.

Statistics

Up to 10 AM, April 30, 2003, there are 3460 SARS cases country-wide. Among them 1440 cases were in Beijing. (Source: Sohu.com)

On Wangjianshuo’s blog, 24 articles were devoted to SARS, including 2 in March and 2 in Feburary. 322 comments were left in one month around the topic of SARS.

Summary

The course of development of SARS epidemic, the preventional actions and the media reports of SARS in China can be clearly divded into three stage, seperated clearly by two events:

1. First media conference on April 3, 2003, when Minister of Health first announced the SARS to the media.

2. The second media conference on April 17, 2003, immediate after which the sack of two officials were announced.

I will call the three stage as:

  • Stage 1: Few reports, no actions.
  • Stage 2: Lots of reports, few actions.
  • Stage 3: Intensive reports, solid actions.

Let’s review the articles on SARS on Wangjianshuo’s blog to see the stages.

Stage 1: Few reports, no actions.

Feb 12: I first heard of atypical pneumonia from my classmates in Guangzhou on Feburary 12 (maybe few days before). I didn’t realize that this will be a global problem.

Feb 16: For days later, China Daily reported atypical pneumonia was under control. I was very happy to know the news. However, as I wrote, the anxiousity was not under control yet.

Mar 23: My friend asked me on MSN Messenger that “is it (SARS) bad in Shanghai?”. Well. I didn’t know anything about SARS at that time. It was the first time I heard of the term of SARS.

Mar 26: I was educated by the symtoms of SARS.

Mar 27: SARS hit the headlines of local newspaper for the first time. It said “there is no SARS in Shanghai

Apr 1: SARS begin to cause a little bit panic in the city. People who have access to emails are among the first batch to get the rumor of SARS. Actually, the rumors sounded very scary. Most of them, however, proved to be completely fake two weeks later. Meetings began be to postponed.

Stage 2: Lots of reports, few actions.

After the media conference, the ban of newspaper report on SARS was lifted. Media began to discuss about SARS publicly.

Apr 6: Shanghai looks good since the rumor discontinued because of the media coverage began.

Apr 8: My expat readers began to participate in the discussion about their feelings about SARS in the city. SARS was a much more serious issue for them.

Apr 9: I said “Panic under contrl, SARS may not“, because although the media repeatly report there is no SARS cases in Shanghai, or there is only one SARS case in Shanghai later, I didn’t see any preventional actions around me yet.

Apr 10: Hospitals and hotlines setup in Shanghai.

Apr 11: More and more people from abroad were asking me “shall I cancel my trip to Shanghai?“.

Apr 15: Lots of SARS websites were put online.

Apr 17: This is the first article of my Daily Life in Shanghai. The positive sides is, all media (radio, TV, newspaper and websites) are talking about the preventional measures of SARS. The dark side is, the taxi driver told me they never disinfect their cars although TV news report said so.

Stage 3: Intensive reports, solid actions.

April 20 is the turning point. It is rare that a official were fired for their fault. After the sack of former health minister, the officials of the whole country were shocked and quick actions were taken.

Apr 20: 339 SARS in Beijing. May Holidy Cancelled.

Apr 22: All evidence proved that China is taking SARS seriously. Disinfection of the buildings and announcement of dangerous trains with SARS suspected patients happened.

Apr 23: Situation of SARS in Shanghai became severe. Disinfection went to the next level and the eight regulations from the Shanghai government really impacted everyone’s life – travel outside Shanghai restricted; masks for most service industries became must; temperature were taken at all ports.

Apr 24: Pictures in Beijing and Shanghai are better than thousands of word: the situation is worse, but the actions were solid.

Apr 25: The whole nation became more united than ever. Solidarity became the first priority. People of all industries and all cities were fighting agaisnt SARS. Moving stories hit the headlines of newspapers. I posted “Protect China – Not Only Against SARS” in response to the false report of some medias on China.

Apr 26: Daily Life – SARS related II. You will see very encouraging changes in Shanghai about the thorough work the government have done. It was the second reason why the city of Shanghai had much lower case of SARS. (The first reason was purely lucky).

Apr 27: WHO finally released the findings of the five-day investigation. It was a positive one.

Apr 28: Check what it was to have a dinner now in Shanghai.

Apr 29: Daily life – SARS related III. I felt safer now, although the threats of SARS were still there.

Apr 30: SARS Shanghai – April Review (this article) came out.

Daily Life – SARS Related III

Chat with taxi driver for the third time

Taxi drivers are among the most sensitive people for any changes in the city. I initialized achat with the third taxi driver after SARS hit the city. If you still remember, the first taxi driver told me on April 17 that his car was disinfected once every month. The second taxi driver told me on April 23 that his car was disinfected every morning from April 21. Let’s see what the third taxi have to tell us after one week.

You see the green label at my front glass? We are required to return to taxi company once from 10:00 PM to 8:00 AM the next morning everyday. The taxi company will organize disinfection for each car carefully. It is done very careful now. The cover of the seats are changed everyday.

Meanwhile, every taxi is equiped with a bottle of disinfectant. We are required to spay the disinfectant every noon when I leave my car for lunch. I will close all doors so the spray will work better. Then open all the windows after I return. If I meet any passenger who goes to hospital or I suspect he/she is ill, I will also spray the disinfectant after he/she leave.

Regarding the business, he said

It is totally a mess now, especially on weekends. On Saturday or Sunday, I cannot find anyone to take my car. Taxis began to line up outside building and residental areas. This can seldom seen before. Now we do it because waiting for two or three hours is better than wandering on the road, wasting the oil.

Hair solons

I went to have my hair cut today. Not surprisingly, all the servers wore maks. They also told me their customers decreased by 1/3. What surprised me a lot is, they even give me a mask and politely asked me wear it. Well – this is the first time I wear a mask for my whole life.

Chain stores

I visited C-Store at Caobao Rd. They are hanging notices at the window and on the counter, stating all the measures they have took to protect their customers against SARS. They even said sorry for the smell of the disinfectant in the air – very well done.

Everbright Exhibition Center

A large red back drop (about 5 meters X 2 meters) was placed at the entrance with large caption: “Everbright Is Safe!”. There are a list of their precaution measures.

The Bund Center

The sticker of “disinfected every hour” was sticked in all the elevators. It smells like a swimming pool.

Hotels

I visited Westin Hotel and found the descrease in customers is obvious. The lobby is empty and no many people are having dinner at the rush hours.

My friend told me that body temperature will be taken on the head everytime you return to the hotel – even if you just left for half an hour.

Changes of the country because of SARS

I read about the Chinese version of the analysis of the benifit SARS brings along the disaster. It is very interesting. I wanted to translate it into English. Before I began, I found expat Micah in Tianjin has already done so. He was so kind to give me the permission to cite the 26 changes of SARS here.

  1. People are watching their personal hygiene like never before; new habits like the washing of hands are finally being learned.
  2. Because people are taking care of themeselves, typical springtime illnesses like fevers are down this year.
  3. The quality of medicine has increased, and old stock has been completely sold out.
  4. The large scale precaution activities saved many masks, disinfectant and

    hygiene equipment manufactures.

  5. The social status of medical personnel increased.
  6. The hygiene of previously neglected public areas has been improved.
  7. Privacy is more respected; people don’t visit unless they have specific business.
  8. Wild animals are protected because nobody wants to eat them. (SARS saved the pandas! -ed)
  9. Lots of work units went on vacation, so people could finally take that big holiday.
  10. With less people on the street, the social atmosphere improved.
  11. People are more willing to give up their seats on the bus-just give a little cough. (LOL -ed)
  12. The telecommunications industry is prospering, as people hole themselves up in their rooms and only speak on the telephone.
  13. Family members become nicer to each other since there is no where to go except staying at home.
  14. Men are getting better at cooking; since they’re not doing anything they might as well help in the kitchen.
  15. Reading books is fun again, because there are less entertainment options.
  16. Nobody plays majiang or gambles with friends because they’re afraid of getting infected.
  17. TV gets watched more often, so advertisers get more for their money.
  18. Internet usage is up, computer viruses are more frequent, so anti-virus software makers prosper.
  19. People are afraid to take the bus, so bicycle sales are up.
  20. Snack sales are up, so grocers are happy.
  21. Law and order has improved, ’cause who goes into anybody else’s home?
  22. Business is slow for the ladies of the night, so AIDS transmission has slowed markedly.
  23. The traffic situation has improved, and air pollution has fallen.
  24. People who wouldn’t consent to open the windows are now willing to ventilate the room, so it isn’t as stuffy indoors.
  25. Relatives won’t visit, new parents put off having kids, the population crisis is slightly relieved.
  26. People learn to value health and life, and to stop fighting, bickering, being jealous and thinking of suicide.

My Dinner Impacted by SARS

I went to a Taiwanese restaurant for dinner at about 8:00 PM. It seems the regulation of “wearing masks for all dining industry staff” is well executed. All the staff are wearing masks – the small thin paper-made masks. This is the forth restaurants I visit for this week – KFC, a Japanese quick food restaurant, Shiquanshimei – a Chinese one and this Taiwanese one. All the staff of these four restaurants are wearing masks to protect them and to protect the customers.

After I sit down at the corner, a couple just paid the bill and left their seats. Within one minute, hardly did the couple stepped out of the door, the cleaning staff appeared at the desk and using the disinfectant spray to clean the table – the smell suddenly spread in the small room. More than that, she also disinfected the sofa the couple just sit in. About 2 minutes later, the complicated disinfection was completed. The cleaning lady turned and disappeared, leaving me alone in the room, very confused. I have a strange feeling that I don’t know whether she is doing the right thing or not. On one hand, I feel safe in this restaurants because it is assured that disinfection is thorough. On the other hand, will they use the same standard after I leave? Am I treated like a virus carrier? :-(

In the other block of the restaurants were 5 young men coming from Japan – you can always clearly tell Japanese from local people in China from the clothes and the faces. Two of them were wearing masks. What I totally cannot understand is that one of them were smoking while wearing masks – he just remove the masks for a little opening, smoke the cigarette and cover his face again using his masks – unbelievable. :-)

Discussion and debating

Today, on my blog, some hot discussion on the politics of China happened. Check the conversation between Tom, Luo and Zhao. – check the discussion from the most bottom one backward will give you a more clear of the whole story. I’d like to thank everyone involved to discuss the topic – by exchanging the ideas, we have a better understanding of the world. I will not comment on either side of the debat – just to keep as objective in this blog as possible – I hope I will be your eyes in the city of Shanghai and report what I see, hear and smell. I hope my feelings can be recorded as it is – I can be subject but at least you know that one guy in Shanghai is thinking this way – this fact is objective. Does it make sense?

WHO’s report not fully covered by media

Before the release of WHO’s report in Shanghai, many medias spent a lot of time guessing the result and stated that the actual number will raise dramatically after WHO’s visit. However, after the press conference in April 26 was held, and the preliminary findings were released later, I didn’t see the expected result to be covered by media. I searched Google News for the next two days. The only report comes from Eastday.com, a local media group based in Shanghai. Till 1 hour ago, the first report on this conference were found at UN’s website. Somewhat strange but I don’t want to comment on this.

More Chinese SARS Blogs

Klogs is reporting SARS from a unique perspective. Good to read. He posted a picture of 15 masked faces today. On this entry, you can see photo that the Prime Minister Wen Jiabao was having lunch in the Beijing University (correct me if I made mistake here).

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(((((((( Wangjianshuo’s blog Update: My Dinner Impacted by SARS ))))))))

April 29, 2003

=============================================

I went to a Taiwanese restaurant for dinner at about 8:00 PM.

It seems the regulation of “wearing masks for all dining

industry staff” is well executed. All the staff are wearing

masks – the small thin paper-made masks. This is the forth

restaurants I visit for this week – KFC, a Japanese quick food

restaurant, Shiquanshimei – a Chinese

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WHO Reports Shanghai Findings

Preliminary findings of the WHO Shanghai team

A WHO team of six experts, in Shanghai since Monday, has provided a preliminary report of its findings. The team was invited by Shanghai authorities to assess the SARS situation in China’s second largest city.

Among its activities, the team examined the SARS surveillance and reporting system, investigated rumours that the case burden might be higher than officially reported, and visited 10 health facilities, 3 district Centres for Disease Control, and the municipal Centre for Disease Control. The team was given free access to all requested data, patient registries, and facilities, which were visited on very short notice.

The team found no evidence of systematic underreporting of cases, and concluded that the level of preparedness and response was good. Reporting of cases appeared to be open, frank, and accurate. Over the past 3? weeks, authorities designated two hospitals as dedicated to the treatment of SARS patients and set up cough and fever clinics. The team also found a very high level of government commitment to tackle the SARS problem.

Many questions remain about why Shanghai has been spared a SARS outbreak on the scale of that seen in Beijing. Had a larger number of cases occurred, it is not certain whether the systems presently in place would have been able to cope.

Source: WHO official website

Actions

SARS is a disaster for China. Fortunately, we can see some good effects of the disease anyway. Changes happen subtlely.

  • People pay more attention to personal hygiene and quit bad habits. The fine has raised and the public are aware, so spitting and littering (two very bad habits with bad reputation worldwide) are much less. Washing hands and cleaning the living place become the new habits.
  • Government efficiency is improved. More and more officials sacked for failure of prevention SARS. I just read about the director and other leaders of Changsha Disease Control and Prevention Center was fired. (Changsha is the capital city of central China’s Hunan province)
  • Media become more transparent – more newspapers are critising the government which is very rare before. This brings value to provide feedback so lowlights have the opportunity to become highlights.

(some ideas comes from Changyu’s SARS website (Chinese site))

Paused Marriage Registration

Beijing has paused issuing any new marriage certificate to the public. Source: Beijing Government Official Website. This aim to reduce the wedding ceremony to be held in Beijing.

Quota for Beijing taxi lowered

The taxi business in China uses the model that the taxi driver will hand-in certain fixed amount of quota to the taxi company and the rest will be the income. Impacted by SARS, the quota is lowered by the taxi administration in Beijing. Source: Sohu.com

Taxi and buses labeled disinfection

Shanghai ordered all taxi, buses and metro trains to disinfect everyday and put the color “disinfected” label on the window. (Refer to my entry yesterday for order details) I applause for this action but doubted if it can implemented effectively. Today, to my great surprise, all the taxis and buses I have seen (about 40+ of them) are followed the order perfectly. This is very encouraging.

Photos

Saliven posted a group of pictures of lots of people wearing masks on April 26, 2003. Very nice done.

Beautiful girls wearing masks in the Shanghai Auto Expo.

Stores advertisement about the Anti-SARS medicines. There are some posters for SARS, street scene of April. Meanwhile, the book market at Wenmian was closed (the last picture).

Daily Life – SARS Related II

This is the second flash of dialy life from Shanghai in the SARS times. This is a sunny, warm Saturday in early spring. I stayed at home the whole day today.

Fast Food Restraunts

KFC in Metro City of Xujiahui changed face from yesterday night. All staff – the counter, the cleaning staff, the cooking staff and managers wore large white facial masks. Whenever a customer leaves his/her seat, the cleaning staff will rush to the seat and spay disinfectant onto the table, then clean it. This does not enhance neverness at all. On the contary, I feel very relax and safe when I ordered by “Suite 1” (21.50 RMB). ll many people there, although not that crowded.It is easier to find a seat now. There were still two tables available when I got my plate – this is seldom seen for the rush hours.

Office building disinfected

A notice in the building I worked in was placed in the lobby. It announced the emergency phone number of SARS contact person of the property management company and put the schedule of disinfection.

Chat with a friend

A friend of my just called and let me know she just returned from a business trip to Beijing. Oh! I asked about the situation. She told me that the airport of Shanghai is checking every passenger carefully. She filled the form and went through the time consuming physicial examination. She will stay at home for some days before she go out.

Taxis and buses

According to Shanghai government’s official website, the city’s transportation administration announced the new transportation viechele disinfection regulartion.

Starting from April 26 (today), all the 18496 buses, 46000 taxis and 324 metro trains are required to stick “Disfinected” label before put into operation. This is another solid action to prevent the spreading of SARS via transportation system. It always help the public to descrease panic.

Daily infection is requierd, so they have design 7 color labels:


Monday brown  Disinfected 

Tuesday bluegreen  Disinfected 

Wednesday lilac  Disinfected 

Thuresday green  Disinfected 

Friday lightyellow  Disinfected 

Staturday lightgreen  Disinfected 

Sunday skyblue  Disinfected 

The sticker need to appear on the glass of the doors where passengers get aboard the buses. Taxis need to stick it at the right corner of the front glass. The sticker also will be seen on the window beside the doors.

All citizens are entitled to call the administrations if they find any car not follow the regulations. I also post the numbers here for your reference:

Buses 63175522

Taxi 63232150

Metro lines: 64483666 63189000

Other transportation 65956925

Transportation information 962000

The area code of Shanghai is 21 and the country code of China is 86

Meanwhile, to prevent SARS from spreading, all cars must not use air conditionings and must open the window for enough fresh air circulation.

So no wonder Caroline commented at 4:11 PM:

Have you seen how the cabs in Shanghai are so shiny today?? Clean!!! Even the blue ones and the maroon ones are clean! The roads are swept so often! And of course spitting is now a 200rmb offense in Shanghai! Wow!

And what a beautiful day it is outside!

Posted by: Caroline on April 26, 2003 04:11 PM

Online shopping

After the government’s suggestion to stay home and avoid travel, many people are staying at home recently. The shopping malls are less crowded than before. On the contary, online shopping, which is warm but not hot this year, become extremely hot.

When I logged on to the one of the largest online (and offline) chain supermarket LianHua’s website, a notice pop up appeared (Chinese notice and will exist for only limited time. The link may be broken when you try). Here is the excerpt:

Impacted by SARS, customers tend to choose to shop online. This caused the order of this week increased by 120%. Some goods are out of stock. At the special time, solidarity is the first priority. We are trying our best to make sure your goods are delivered on time. Our staff will wear masks when delivering the goods to your door…..

I bought some rice, water and other neccessities from the website – it can be deliver to my home in 3 hours. It is very good, right?

WHO’s team in Shanghai

WHO held the press conference in Portan-RizCarlton Hotel at 17:30 yersterday after investigating Shanghai’s SARS situation for five days. We are longing for the result of the inspection.

According to the announcement, WHO think highly of Shanghai on SARS. I watched part of the press conference. It was on Shanghai TV this morning.

“We have not found the Shanghai government to have flaunted the numbers or covered up the outbreak,” said Keiji Fukuda, a member of the United Nations agency’s team. “Based on what we have seen, the case numbers reported are in the ballpark.”

The team attributed the small number of SARS cases in Shanghai to two factors: luck and the city’s deliberate precautions.

“SARS is not a worldwide epidemic yet and the incidence of the disease is quite different in different regions. Moreover, local health authorities have gained much experience and lessons from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Beijing to conduct effective measures such as avoiding hospital infection and establishing a strict monitoring system to identify SARS cases and suspected patients and to conduct separation measures,” said Keiji Fukuda.

Source: Eastday.com

Two cases in Shanghai

Lots of friends outside Shanghai asked me whether I believe in the number of 2 confirmed cases in Shanghai, while Beijing and Guangzhou have much more.

Well. I only happen to live in Shanghai and I don’t have any data to support the guess of either side. I can only judge based on my feeling and my observation of very limited part of the city.

I am convincined that the number of 2 cases are reasonable and very likely to be true. Here are some reasons why I believe in the official numbers the government announced. DISCLAIM: MY PERSONAL OPPION ONLY

  • Shanghai is doing a good job to take precautions. As you can see from this article and from the previous obverservation, all the actions are taken promptly and orderly. Disinfections go on everywhere; education on the SARS knowledge can be seen whenever you go; Passengers visiting Shanghai are taken temperature and filling travel history forms; and all big events have been canncelled.
  • Quarantine immediately and in the right scope was taken promptly. There are lots of rumors, most of them are confirmed to be rumors only. I’d like to give you an example here.
    • On April 24, a suspected SARS case was found in the Shanghai Teachers University. It is within 10 minutes distance from my home. I heard the rumor first that someone was infected. I checked the website and found the university has put the announcement of the case on the homepage of the website. According to the notice, the student with last name Wang came back from Beijing on April 13 and shown the symptoms on April 23. The dorm of patient’s was quarantined immediately (the 3rd and 4th floor of the No. 6 dorm). People with contact with the patient was under observation too.
    • In the next day, Miss Wang was announced to be free of SARS.
    • On April 25, the quarantine for the dorm in Shanghai Teachers University is removed and all the students in the dorm became free again.

    In this case, I believe the government, the disease control center and the university have done perfectly to reduce the protential risks of SARS. We can clearly see the relationship between the low case number and the servious attitude.

  • The disease control network is better in Shanghai. I just remember about one year ago, I had a loose bowels and went to see a doctor of the No. 8 Hospital. The doctor was very alerted and asked me if there is anyone else in my company are having the same symptoms. He added that if he found more than 2 cases of the same disease, he are required to report the cases to Disease Control Center immediately. I felt very suprise at that time because I didn’t believe that only two cases will be reported – I thought it should be at least 5 or 10. This experience let me know Shanghai has a disease report and control system in place already.

Protect China – Not Only Against SARS

To Google visitors

Arrived here by searching China in Google Image? Welcome! I am Jian Shuo Wang, and I am living in Shanghai, China. I write one article everyday on this blog everyday since 2002. This site is voted as Top 10 China Blogs in 2003 and was mentioned by BusinessWeeks, MSNBC, Telegraph, and China Radio International.

I am sure that you arrived at the right site if you look for China information, but may not the right page. Here are my suggestions:

If you want China Photos, visit Photos. I specially recommend Daocheng photos.

If you want to visit Shanghai, check my Shanghai category. There are 200+ articles covering everything from Maglev to taxi, from daily life to jobs in this great city.

If you want to visit China, my travelog to some major Chinese cities will help.

Here is a complete list of articles. Here is a directory. You can visit my home page or use search box. Anyway, do stay here for some minutes longer and you will find what you wanted.

Yours,

Jian Shuo Wang

September 9, 2004

After tracking the situation of SARS in Shanghai and other places in China for sometime, I believe it is time make the following announcement and fight back against some false statement.

China is a great country – as it always is

Recently, more and more media pay much more attention on the dark side of China. It seems critizing the Chinese government on SARS is their full time job. Some even try to isolate China – it is definitely wrong. As a Chinese citizen, I cannot accept it.

Actually, the western media played a positive role in the case of SARS situation in China. I know that. My friends in U.S. told me that media is always pushy, which help the truth come out. The strong interntional pressure is a big factor for the recent changes in the battle against SARS. This is widely recognized by the people in China. I saw some wonderful posts in some BBS. They analysized the course of the situation and pointed out it should be the Chinese media who should have reported the situation, insteading of waiting for foreign medias. I want everyone to notice the change happened.

Before last Sunday when the Health Minister was sacked, the government did response slowly to SARS, so does the media. These days, as I have described in the previous entries, the government and the media have taken solid actions to fight against SARS – disinfection is going on almost everywhere in the city and the government has put 2 billion RMB funding to fight against SARS. I believe the government has shown the responsibility. I personally fully trust the government has the ability to overcome the difficulties the whole nation is facing.

United – tighter than ever

Maybe the outside world didn’t notice that the people my country have united tightly together now. SARS is a crisis in the history of China and the nation united to fight. I visited the BBS of Nanjing University – one of the hundreds of university BBS. Students are discussing the topic actively – there come about 2 – 4 posts for every single minute (11666 posts in 10 days). I am deeply moved by the stories they are telling.

  • Doctors have devoted themselves to the SARS patients days and nights. Lots of them even got infected and some them died when saving others’ lives;
  • Students are sending flowers and cards to those doctors and patients, encouraging them and pray for them;
  • Organizations have denoted money or goods to help in various ways;
  • People are claiming that they will overcome whatever difficulties to help prevent the virus from spreading.
  • I even heard an online game company even opened their fee-based game server to the public, hoping to help keep people in their homes and reduce outting (heard from my friend, not confirmed).

This is the united nation of China. I don’t think the reporters of Times really understand how tough it is to fight against SARS when they repeated report the incorrectness of SARS figures.

screen-china.national.flag.jpg

I Love this country!

I strongly protest the statement about China on SARS.com

There are many very good website out there reporting accurate and helpful information like Tim’s SARSWatch.org, and Docbear’s SARS Daily Update. They show their professionalism and responsibility by providing updated and USEFUL information. However, there are some bad sites like sars.com. I was shocked to see the statement on http://www.sars.com. Why did they use the large red color to state “avoid traveling to Hong Kong and China” and even announced ” It even stated:

Traveling to China, Asia? Don’t forget to say good-bye to your friends & family.

What is SARS? SARS is a mystery illness causes severe acute Respiratory syndrome and can kill you real fast.

screen-sars.com-protest.PNG

The only proprose of this site, as I can see, is to enhance panic and attack China and Asia. Getting a good domain name does not mean you can say whatever you want.

Be responsible. Refuse to spread rumor.

One of the best things of this blog is to have a group of people working together to collect and post useful information using the comment system of MovableType. I’d like to thank a lot of persons who stayed with us, commented on this blog and provided valuable information in this tough situation. They are: Mainlander, Caroline, Anna, Annie, Hao, Tim, Yo, Karp Boonthavi, Randy, etc (and many others). The information on prevention and proper use of equipments are exteremely useful for those seeking for protections.

Meanwhile, with more and more vistors coming to this site everyday, I’d like to call attention to everyone to continue to keep the high standard of posting and ensure the information we post are as accurately as possible. If there is any unconfirmed information, or sounds like rumor, please specify – “not confirmed” or “treat it as rumor only”. We are here to learn, to share, and to help. We don’t want to confuse people, dislead people, or even worse, causing panic among people.

Stay calm and healthy, my friends. Best wishes to you and to the country.

Note: The content modified a little after published by Jian Shuo Wang.

SARS Pictures From Beijng and Shanghai

Photos from Anzhen Hualian Shopping Mall – It is very encouraging to see all the sales persons were wearing masks. This demononstrated the preventional measures have been in place to fight against SARS.

Street photos of Beijing on the day of April 23. Much less people can be seen on the most crowded street in Beijing – Wang Fu Jing Street. People are wearing masks, including the guards.

beijing-wangfujing.st-sars.jpg

Photo credit: lowxu from Fengniao.com

Work Together – Fighting Against SARS

The following photos are popular on the Internet – I saw them from time to time in the email sent to me and on the public forums. An article on Qianlong.com provided a good summary of these photos. The title for the article is “United – It is the best medicine to fight against SARS”.

Copyright and credits belong to the original photographers.

beijing-anti-sars-ad.jpg

The red characters state: Fight Against SARS, Protect our Homes. It is the AD used by the SARS chapaign.

beijing-couple.in.love-sars.jpg

This picture of the two young lovers is the symbol of love in the SARS times. People’s lives are affected; faces are covered by the masks; but the lover and the family are even closer with each other. Taken near the Beijing West Railway Station.

beijing-journalist-sars.jpg

News reporters are well equipped but taking high risks to report SARS to the world.

tianjin-anti.sars-trainin.jpg

Tianjin: train attendants were preparing to disinfect the train.

shanghai-two.lovely.masks-sars.jpg

Taken at Shanghai Auto Expo. Volkswagen (VW) even prompted their brand on the facial masks. The show was closed yesterday ahead of schedule.

SARS Update – April 24

More and more companies are working out plans in the current situation. I have heard of the following actions were taken:

  • Some company asks employees to stay in home and don’t need to come to office unless required.
  • A company is encouraging employees to install ADSL, broadband network in case SOHO work is required.

According to some friends of mine, most universities have restricted people from outside the university to enter. Student ID is checked. Annie from Tongji University left comment on this page. She also confirmed this piece of news.

Universities also announced to pause all internship program in local companies. Official letters have been sent to employing companies to ask pause the internship for one month. This is to make sure the students won’t bring virus from the working places to school or spread the virus to other companies.

United – Protect China Against SARS

It is the special time and but it is not the worst of time. I saw a lot of solid actions were taken in the city and the people become more united during these situations. I am personally very confident that the epidemic will be stop soon. I solute for those doctors who fight day and night at the first line.

screen-china.national.flag.jpg

United – Protect China Against SARS

Shanghai SARS: Situation Severe

The atmosphere of today in Shanghai is most severe ever in Shanghai. The air seems to suddenly freeze these days.

Disinfection – real disinfection this time

When I talk with the Dazhong taxi 5 days ago, the driver told me his car is not disinfected at all although the Oriental TV is reporting all taxis are disinfected everyday. I recorded this under the Taxi driver section of the blog of that day. Today, I talked with another mid-aged taxi driver – he also comes from the Dazhong taxi company and he told me the following information:

My car is disinfected every morning. This actually started from this Monday. The seat covers are washed daily, while they are changed not frequently before – about once every week. We are also required to open the window during driving.

I feel very happy to see the real actions are finally being taken – not only the media report, since the false media reports will only control panic (in very short period of time) but cannot control SARS. I can still smell the vinegar-like disinfectant in the car. The 180 degree change happens on Monday – when the sack of Health Ministor and Beijing major were announced on Sunday.

When I returned to home, I found the elevator are still being disinfected on daily basis – it is good.

Business impacted

The taxi driver also told me that he faced 200 RMB revenue cut for SARS these days. On average, he can earn at least 600 RMB every day before. But now, 400 RMB per day is already a good number.

Taxi may not be the most impacted industry. I have changed to taking taxi everyday to and from work – so does some of my friends. Taxi is obviously safer than bus or metro. So the lose of huge reduce of out door activities can be compensated a little bit by the increase of ratio people taking taxis. But other industries are completely worse.

According to not confirmed information, the Shanghai Auto Show was cut from tomorrow – 3 days ahead of the ending date.

Shanghai: Eight regulations to control SARS

According to news report, Shanghai government has announced eight regulations to control SARS:

  1. All passengers entering Shanghai need to check temperature and fill in the health declaration form. This applies to all entrance including air, train, ship, bus. Hotels needs to do the same for all guests.
  2. Enhance prevention measures for schools and kindergarnders.
  3. All public transportation vehecales and public places must be disinfected everyday. Planes, trains, long distance buses, cargos, metro, buses, taxies and all other kind of publich transportation viacles and stations, ports, dorms in building sites, schools, Internet cafes, bars, Karaoks, theaters, shopping malls, and other public places must be disinfected everyday and stick the disinfection mark with the date of the disinfection. Failure to keep compliant with the requires will be shutdown immediately.
  4. Strictly control large scale activities. No large event with large amount of people gathering is allowed. Any organization should not organize any international or inter-provincial events. Scheduled events should be canncelled or postponed.
  5. Strictly control meeting, tour and investigation to outside Shanghai. No organization should arrange any meeting, tour or investigation to places outside Shanghai. All travel agencies should stop any tour to other provinces. Tourism administrations should advice travel agencies in other provinces to cancel their tour groups’ trip to Shanghai. All people returning Shanghai from SARS affected areas are required to be observed for two weeks and be reported to local disease control organizations. All organizations should persuade people not to tour or travel. Returning people from SARS affected areas need to report to local health orgnizations and stay in home for at least two weeks.
  6. Strengthen the professionalism of first-line workers. All health organization, airport, custom, ports, import and export quarantine, etc staff, public transportation staff, like on plane, train, ship, long distance buses must wear masks at work and take other neccessary precautions.
  7. Announce the situation of epidemic and encourage supervising from the public. Continue to publish the status of the epidemic on all media and hold news conference weekly. All citizens should report any suspected SARS patients and will be granted prize for those whose report is confirmed. All parama staff need to investigate customers for cough or fever medicines and persuade them to go to see a doctor whenever possible.
  8. All activities need to be ochrasted by the local district government first then by the parent organization.

Note: Above is my personal translation. For time being, I didn’t translated it word by word – some sentences are ignored. Due to limitation of my understanding of certain terms and English skills, some words may be translated wrong. This is just for your information. Please wait for the official translation. Please always include this disclaimer if you quote the content.

Very encouraging

Although the regulations let everyone realized the potential threats of the virus and strengthened the nervers atmosphere of the city, I have to say, this is exactly what we were expecting in the last one month. I thank the government to take the actions at last. The panic will also be controlled as long as the people understand the effective measures have been taken.

Latest from News at Ten of Shanghai TV Station

I recorded some piece of the latest information from The News at Ten from Shanghai TV Station. Again, this is the draft of the items for your information only. I cannot garantee the correctness of the recording – about 10% of the content may be misrecorded. They are listed in no particular order.

  • Fine for bad habbits of citizens dramatically increased. Spitting will be fined 200 RMB instead of current 50 RMB. Litter ciggritte remains will be fined 100 RMB instead of 50 RMB. Dropping Gum will be fined for 200 RMB instead of 100 RMB. (my comment: the city is taking SARS as the chance to fight against some bad habits among the citizens)
  • The Shanghai Auto Show is closed early in order to prevent SARS.
  • The CAAC is returning air tickets free of refunding fee during the May labor day holiday. According to CAAC, tickets among April 30 – May 7 tickets can be returned without additional charge if they were bought before midnight last night.
  • Beijing is closing most schools to prevent the spread of SARS.
  • 1 millions students in Beijing were dismissed to home for two weeks and the coming mid-term examinations cancelled.
  • Send SMS Message “NEWS” to 258088 (China Mobile) or to 958008(Unicom) for SARS related English breaking news.
  • All students in one of the school in Shanghai need to check temperature every day – this has become a common practise in Shanghai.
  • All students need to report to the school if their family members goes or returns out of the town – from the same schools.
  • All theaters needs to be disinfected before every movie show.
  • Beauty solon workers are required to wear masks at work
  • All car or bus drivers are required to leave a detailed record about their health condition and the locations they have been. They will also need to take body temperatures at all toll station. Most drivers said they support th e policy. “SARS is a very serious problem and we are all concerned about it.” said one driver.

Conclusion: I got more alerted, but feel safer

The news reports and the actions taken have alerted all the citizens about the seriousness of the virus but I am feeling safer.

China is Taking SARS Seriously

From my observation, the country is taking SARS very seriously recently.

SARS Prevention Campain

This afternoon, around 3:00 PM, a large red banner was hung just at the entrance of the residental garden I live in. On the banner, are the large white characters:

Do the work more thoroughly, more deep, more solid and more transparent,

Prevent SARS with benifit, with order, and with effectiveness

The same banner appeared in the nearby Tianlin 11th village. Meanwhile, the prevention knowledge has been widely distributed. I got the flyer of “Prevention of Infectious SARS” in the my mailbox this morning. The black boards with introduction of SARS, symptoms and prevention methods are placed in the entrances of the garden.

My building was disinfected

When I entered the elevator, I smelled something like vinegar. Then I noticed the disinfection history record on the wall. It reads:

April 21, 16:00 disinfected with 1:9 Acidum Peroxyaceticum

APril 22, 16:00 disinfected with 1:9 Acidum Peroxyaceticum

……

Acidum Peroxyaceticum C2H4O3 is the mostly used disinfectant here.

May Holiday Cancellation

Actually, I never thought the country will announce such as a big movement to cancel the May holiday. It is such a big movement. Millions of people were affected. People have to cancel their trip schedules and return the tickets. It is announced that airlines will return the full fund for tickets (April 30 to May 7)bought before 24:00 April 22. – Big actions, aren’t they?

Dangerous train: T151

It is announced that all passengers on T151 from Beijing to Qinghai province need to see doctors immediately. A SARS patient was found to get off the train in Gansu.

Actually, I have never seen an announcement like this before – bad news are seldom broadcasted to the whole nation. This time, I belive it is a big step moving forward.

Upper sleeping berths all sold out

I booked train tickets back home today. The sleeping berths offers three layer of tickets – upper, middle and lower. Traditionally, people will choose lower berth first since it is most convinient. But now, things completely changed. Now only the lower berths are available for the whole train since people think the higher they sleep, the safer they are. – It is a completely up-side-down world.

P.S. Thanks for zwaffle to pointed out a typo in my article – I wrote “Millions of people were infected” under the May Holiday Cancellation section while I meant “Millions of people were affected”. Sorry for that.

339 SARS in Beijing. May Holidy Cancelled

In the news conference held at 3:00 PM today, 339 cases were confirmed in Beijing, 402 more are suspected.

Meanwhile, the long May holiday is cancelled. It is announced one month before that the traditional long May holiday starts at May 1 till May 7. However, the schedule is changed. One of the direct impact is that my wedding ceremony to be held on May 6 will be on the working day.

Recipt to prevent SARS?

According to People’s Daily, some famous doctor gave the Chinese medicine recipt to prevent SARS.

Use it at your own risk.

Breaking News: Health Ministor and Major of Beijing sacked

The official Xinhua news agency gave no reason for the top officials’ sackings, but speculation has been growing in recent days that minister Zhang Wenkang and Mayor Meng Xuenong might be forced from office over their handling of the outbreak

Source: CNN.com April 20, 2003

Report on Sina.com on this:

screen-news.sina.com.cn-zhang.wen.kang.PNG

It is very simple – only 23 characters. No reasons were given. There are 245 posts in the discussion under this topics in 6 hours on Sina.com. The majority of the posts are singing very highly of this event. “It is the hope of China”, wdzoup from IP 219.234.63.* said.

SARS Found in Henan

April 18. It is reported by the official newspaper that SARS cases were found in central China’s Henan province. They are returning workers in Zhumadian, Nanyang and Kaifeng. The cases were found on April 16 and 17.

I summarize the situation by the official announcement – actually, the news report is always treated as official announcement since if the officials does not approve, the news cannot come out regarding these sensitive topics:

SARS Hainan: None

SARS Sichuan: 7 cases, 2 died

SARS Jilin: Two suspected case

The latest information on the official website of Ministor of Health is still the data of April 7:

Province/City Cases Death

Guangdong 1203 43

Shanxi 24 1

Beijing 19 4

Sichuan 4 1

Hunan 6 1

Shanghai 1 0

Guangxi 11 3

Total 1268 53

Source: News center, MOH. Data up to April 6

WHO data

Country: China

Cumulative number of case(s) 1482

Number of new cases since last WHO update 25

Number of deaths 65

Number recovered 1126

Local chain(s) of transmission Yes

Date of last report 18 Apr 2003

Source: WHO SARS Report of April 18

Beijing SARS Map

The following map is spreading quickly on the net and via emails. The circles denotes the infected areas. Note: I don’t think there are any solid evidence behind this map. Take it as rumor only.

screen-beijing.sars.map.gif

Daily Life – SARS Related

I found SARS has been part of people’s life these days. There are too many things that remind you of the existance of SARS in the city.

Sticker in taxi

The first thing I noticed is a yellow sticker on right part of the dashboard in the taxi I took. The sticker is about 30 CM in width, stating:

SARS can be cured. Don’t panic. If you found the following symptoms: Fever, headache, an overall feeling of discomfort, and body aches, please call this number immediately:

021-52285500

The same yellow sticker was sticked just in front of the passenger’s seat on the first row in the car. It also appeared on many taxis. When I took the Dazhong taxi home at night, I found the same sticker. According to the taxi driver, the notice was sticked there at the begining of today.

Topic

When I sit down to have my dinner at the table in a restraunt in Xujiahui, I noticed the couple near my table were talking about SARS – it is very common that people talk about SARS every where.

News paper

Picking up the latest Xin Min Evening, two headlines are all about SARS – one said that the central government is paying enough attention to the situation of SARS; the other talk about the SARS precautions the city had took. SARS related news been the headline of local newspapers for about a week.

Radio

Whenever I get on taxi these days, I will ask the driver to turn on radio – there are always some pieces of news on SARS – most of them are positive – reporting the SARS has been under control; or SARS patients have recovered and have left the hospital…

TV

On Oriential TV, most of the SARS topics are related to actions taken to prevent SARS from spreading. When I opened TV today, I got to know that Shanghai has be second confirmed case of SARS – the father of the previous SARS patient. According to the news report, the situation of both of them are stable.

Taxi driver

I happened to talked with a 40-year-old taxi driver today. He comes from the Dazhong taxi company. I asked whether the news of “all taxi are disinfected everyday” is true or not. He just told me: “My taxi was disinfected one month ago – they just push the spayer bottle twice and told me, your car has been disinfected. I don’t believe it will have any real effect.” He also added. “However, I am not afraid of SARS at all – I don’t believe I will get hit.”

Search items

I analyzed the visit log of this website today and found some visitors come to my site by typing the following search terms in search engines. You can see what people are thinking about these days.

Joke

A man was reported to be ejected by airlines for SARS joke. He said he got SARS on the plane and caused panic. It turned out he is only playing a joke but he was ejected by the caption with two friends. People are already too nervous and don’t play jokes any more.

But this photo is really interesting.

Image source: Chinese tea (Chinese site)

SARS Websites in China

?Most Update Status Report of SARS in China Provided by Ministry of Health (MOH) (Chinese site)

Updated Disease Treatment Solution sent by MOH to all hospitals and publics. (Word Format, Chinese document)

Phone numbers:

  • Beijing: Haidian District Disease Control and Prevention Center (Tel: 010-62551444, 24 hours)
  • Shanghai: Xu Hui District Disease Control and Prevention Center (Tel: 021-64741079, 24 hours)
  • Shanghai: Shanghai Emergency Disease Response Hotline 021-62750270 ,
  • Guangzhou: Tianhe District Disease Control and Prevention Center (Tel: 020- 85517271, 24 hours)
  • Ambulance (Dial: 120)
  • Police (Dial: 110)
  • MOH website at http://www.moh.gov.cn/
  • China Disease Control and Prevention Center: http://www.chinacdc.net.cn
  • WHO website at http://www.who.int
  • ISOS website at http://www.internationalsos.com/
  • CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/

No SARS Case in Fujian – People Daily

This is to help Anna and anyone non-Chinese speaking persons who concerns about the SARS situation in Fujian. The People Daily’s report was in Chinese. I am trying to translate it into English. Note: I don’t want a accurate word by word translation – just deliver some basic ideas so you are informed.

April 11, Fuzhou. Zhao Peng report.

Recently, the Fujian Tourism Bureau held the “May 1 Holiday Seasons Press Conference”. The Bureau Chief Ming Min said that there is no case of SARS found in Fujian Province so far. Fujian is still the “Safest Tour Destination”

Impacted by SARS, a portion of travelers concern about the safety to tour in the May 1 Chinese holiday seasons. The personal in the Health Bureau of Fujian pointed out that these concerns are completely unnecessary. Till now, there is no SARS case in Fujian, let alone any death for this disease…….

Source: People’s Daily via Sina.com.

Anyone know the English edition of this news? I didn’t spend much time and effort to translate the article.

Are the Media Directing the Right Way?

Regarding the recent SARS outbreak in China and then to the world, I am very happy to see the lift of the ban in media. From the begining of April, the public awareness of SARS has been greatly improved with the term “atypical pnuemonia” repeatedly shown in TV, radio, newspaper, magzine and websites. Note: In China, the virus is called “atypical pnuemonia” (AP), not SARS.

Good to see the media coverage

Chinese media, especially the Internet portal like Sina, Sohu and Netease, are actually very smart and very sensitive to breaking news – just like any news website in any country, hit rate is always the first priority for them. After offical news of SARS was release from designated offical news source, which is a signal for the unlift of the ban of this topic, they are rushing at the fastest speed to cover this topic. For example, Sina has created special report for SARS (Chinese site) with about 20 piece of news every day. For example, there are 21 piece of news on SARS on April 12 and 19 on April 13.

News aimed to release the panic

Here are some sample news headlines from the most popular web site Sina.com in the last two days. (Chinese sites)

No SARS case found in Helongjiang province 20030412

First SARS patient in Beijing Bascially Recovered (20030412 18:43)

National Tour Administration: Tour lines to Singopore, Malaysia and Thailand paused (20030412 10:58)

There is no SARS in Fujian. Take it Easy in May 1 Holiday (20030411 22:43)

Among the news report, I found this one interesting: Experts Explained SARS Prevention Knowledges, Citizens Took Off Faical Masks Immediately (Chinese site).

According to the “expert”, people should not wear facial masks. Facial masks are only needed when 1) If you go to hosptial 2) If you are infected by SARS 3) If you are the doctor 4) If SARS patients is near you. He also added that wearing a facial masks will do harm for the health. There are at least three reasons:

  1. Increase anxiecity of yourself.
  2. Cause panic in the people around you
  3. Cause inconvience of your respiration

To make sure the readers understand how well the doctor’s job was done, the reporter even added “before the doctors continued, the person who consulted the doctor took off her facial mask immediately”

I begin to worry again that when the meida are directing people to relax and don’t panic, will it help to control SARS? Especially when the experts are asking people to take off facial masks just to release the panic, will SARS situation be better?

Overall situation is moving positively

The media only report the positive sides of the situation. It is good to certain extend. What really made me feel safer is to see the solid work to control SARS is being done.

Lots of companies are disinfecting their working places. Taxi drivers, airlines, hotels and all public places have joined the disinfection movement. I believe it will be much effective way to control SARS.

Only after we see more and more solid actions like this, we will feel safer.

Shall I Cancel my Trip to Shanghai?

Concerning the recent outbreak of SARS in Asia, especially in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province of China, WHO has issued warning to travelers against going to China. I saw the questions like this in the message boards of this site: “I have booked my tickets to Shanghai in this May. Shall I cancel my trip to Shanghai? Do you have any advice?”

To cancel or not to cancel, it is a question

Well. It is not an easy question to answer. If you ask about my advice, I will tell you two facts about Shanghai. The first is, you won’t feel the fear in Shanghai now. The life is going on and shops still opens. Schools are not closed and seldom can you see people wearing facial masks. It is a city of 16 million people. The official one case of SARS is relatively a smaller number (although I do think there are some cases not counted in the official report). So you don’t have to worry about going to Shanghai. The second fact is, like traveling to any area of the world now, the SARS is there and you have the risk to get infected when you set your foot to a SARS infected area. The risks of SARS, I believe, are not very high – at least not higher than other infectious disease.

My personal suggestion: Go ahead to Shanghai

I am living in this city. Millions of foreigners are also living in this city (3% of the population). It is not the worst of time to come to this city. The only factor to consider is the concerns of the people around you in your country about your trip after your return – people in your neighborhood may think you are dangerous – actually you are not if you don’t see the symptoms on you.

Shanghai is still beautiful and nice – like many people have experienced. There are certainly some risks there – this is for sure. But I don’t think it has to prevent you from coming this city.

When I talked with my friends in Shanghai today asking their suggestions for whether a foreigner should come to Shanghai or cancel the trip. Their answer is positive. They suggest to come but do some precautions – don’t go to public places and stay away from any one who coughs.

Public oppinions from CNN is negitive about the travel

Just checked CNN’s quick vote on the topic.

Would the warning from the World Health Organization make you change your travel plans to Hong Kong or China?

92% choosed YES

8% choosed NO

It is reasonable.

If you ask me “Will you cancel your trip to Iraq?” (if I did planned the trip), my answer is definitely NO, because of the war. But the fact is, not all areas of Iraq is affected by the war. There are some villages that are not important that either Iraqi or U.S. army will pay attention to. They are relatively safe – Shall I say that?

So before you make decision, just consider China is large, much larger than any other south Asia country. The outbreak of one province or city, as shown on TV or website, may not neccessarily be regarded as the situation of the entire country.

Negitive reasons for not to go

Meanwhile, please get aware of the following factors when you come to Shanghai.

1) The official information may not be the actual number. This can be seen via the conflicts of numbers. So do keep alerted no matter what the public is saying.

2) The SARS is highly infectious. The situation now is OK, but who knows about tomorrow. A large scale breakout troughout the city or country is still possible. At that time, it may not be easy to get back to where you come. The flights may be either cancelled or policy (of China or your country) prohibit you from going back if the situation become worse.

The decision is yours.

To my readers,

No matter you cancel or continue your trip, may God be with you and may you be safe and happy.

Hospitals and Hotlines for SARS in Shanghai

I believe this entry should be the most useful one among all the SARS categoris so far. I’d like to provide some solid information about the hospitals and websites you should go to see a doctor if you suspect you are infected by SARS.

Offical website

According to the press conference from the Shanghai government, http://www.smhb.gov.cn is the offical website for SARS information. It is a pity that there is no English information on this site and I’d like to pick some most important news and list it here.

Hosiptals for SARS

You can go to any hospital to see a doctor if you suspect you got SARS. If it is confirmed, you will be moved to the following four hospitals which are especailly equipped to treat SARS.

Foreigners – Shanghai Pneumonia Hospital

Not sure whether I translated the name correctly. It is located on

507, Zheng Min Road (Yang Pu district, in Puxi)

Zipcode: 200433

Phone: 65115006

Fax: 65111298

Website: www.shfkyy.com (Chinese site)

Transportation: Bus No. 8, 55, 75, 90

All childrens – Shanghai Children’s Medical Center, SCMC

All childrens, foreign or native, will go to Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. Here is the information:

Location: 1678, Dongfang Road,

Postcode: 200127

Phone: 58732020

Website: www.scmc.com.cn

Transportation: Bus No. 219, 593, 614, 626, 771, 819, 871, 980, Tunnel 9, 119, 795, 772

Shanghai Infectious Diseases Hospital

Location: 56, Shui Dian Road

Zip: 200083

Phone: 63062125

Fax: 56637442

Updated: SARS Hotlines

Yesterday, SARS Hotlines open in Beijing, Shangai and Guangzhou by Disease Prevention and Control Center.

Beijing

0086-10-64274209

0086-10-64287788

0086-10-64212486(English)

24 Hours a day

Shanghai

0086-21-52285500

08:30 – 20:30, Beijing Time (GMT +0800)

Guangdong

0086-20-84194026

0086-20-84451025

Updated: Hotlines in other areas April 12, 2003

Jiang Su Province: 0086-25-3737121

Nanjing Province: 0086-25-3421474

Hubei Province: 0086-27-87652021

How to dial

If you are in Shanghai, Beijing or Guangzhou, just dial the last 8 numbers listed above for your city. If you are not in the three cities, dial 010 (for Beijing), 021 (for Shanghai), 020 (for Guangzhou) before you dial the 8-digit number. For international calls, add China’s country code 86. The intertional calling code may be different. For example, in U.S., you need to dial 011-86-10-64212486 for English hotlines in Beijing.

Source: Sina.com.cn

Best wishes

I hope that you can get through this tough situation and don’t need these hospitals.