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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 June, 2003, 15:54 GMT 16:54 UK
Beijingers tell of Sars relief
People in Beijing have been telling the BBC of their relief at the lifting of the WHO's travel warning for the city in recognition of its triumph against the Sars virus.

Ms Dong, working for a foreign company in the capital, said she could now look forward to the summer.

"My friends and I are really eager to travel," she said. "Before, Beijingers were disliked by others because of the worry over the virus."

Mr Zhou said for his part that it was a very bad feeling to be looked down upon as a potential carrier of the virus.

I really want to take a holiday in July so I'm so happy
Ms Dong

"But thinking from the other side," he added, "the next time a similar thing happens, we'll be fair to other people."

Mr Ma, a human resources manager, said Sars had caused huge business losses but the main effect was the depression it caused.

"People who haven't experienced it wouldn't understand," he said.

Many said they had needed to work long hours to make up for the economic losses caused by the virus.

"Sars give us a big blow in term of business," said Mr Xu, a post office clerk.

"So many companies are closed, lots of clients have left and it's had a big effect on our post office. "

Making good

Mr Zhou said he hoped the Chinese media would now "become more open and more fair, and respect the common people's right to know the truth".

The country's press initially suppressed the true impact of Sars in China.

Beijing shop assistants celebrate outside their shop after the WHO announcement
Beijing residents hope life will return to normal now
But many had praise for the government's handling of the disease.

"The government and lots of other departments have taken effective measures to prevent and treat the disease," said Mr Ma.

It is widely recognised that the government's strong response to the virus, after its initial reluctance to acknowledge the extent of the disease, has been vindicated.

Mr Su, a government official, said that this success would boost the Chinese administration's authority.

"This made the country's citizens see with their own eyes how important the government is and what China would be without the government," he told the BBC.

The government had turned a "bad thing into a good thing", he said, whilst admitting that many lives had been lost.

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