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Last Updated:  Friday, 28 March, 2003, 17:20 GMT
Bug halts Stones' China shows
Mick Jagger
Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones are touring the world
The Rolling Stones have cancelled two concerts in China because of a mystery illness that has broken out in Asia.

The band had been due to play in Shanghai and Beijing, which would have been their first shows in the country.

The Stones had already cancelled gigs in Hong Kong for the same reason.

A statement issued by the band from Singapore said they had cancelled the gigs on the warnings of the World Health Organisation and Center for Disease Control.

"We are very sad and disappointed not to be able to do these concerts," said Mick Jagger.

"We have been looking forward to the shows in China for so long and will reschedule them as soon as possible."

Reschedule planned

The Stones said they had also taken into account the concerns expressed by local Chinese government officials, communities and individuals over large public gatherings.

The health warnings concern the condition known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The Stones Licks world tour will continue with concerts on 4 April in Bangalore, 7 April in Mumbai and 10 April in Bangkok, the band said.

They played their Singapore dates despite schools being closed as a precaution against the spread of the disease which claimed at least one life in the region.

But SARS is more widespread in Hong Kong.

A spokeswoman for the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Centre where the concerts were due to be held said the band were trying to reschedule the dates.

The new plans will be released later in the year.

Veteran American singer Andy Williams, 76, has also postponed a concert in Hong Kong on 12 April until 6 June because he did not want his band risking their health.

Suspected cases

Almost 500 people outside China have been infected with the illness, according to most recent World Health Organisation figures.

More than 700 people have already been quarantined in Singapore on suspicion that they may have come into contact with the disease.

New suspected cases have also emerged in Canada, where three people have already died from SARS.

And in Hong Kong more than 50 schools have been closed or closed voluntarily as the number of people infected in the territory rose to 290.

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12 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
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26 Mar 03  |  Health
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25 Mar 03  |  Health
Stones shows sell out in minutes
06 Dec 02  |  Entertainment

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