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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 July, 2003, 10:27 GMT 11:27 UK
Sars: Global hotspots
Known death tolls:
World: 812
Mainland China: 348
Hong Kong: 298
Taiwan: 84
Singapore: 32
Canada: 38
Source: WHO/local authorities


China Vietnam
Hong Kong Malaysia
Taiwan Philippines
Canada Thailand
Singapore South Africa

Click on the links above to read about countries hit by the Sars virus

Deaths: 348

China has been hit the hardest by Sars, which was first discovered in the southern province of Guangdong in mid-November 2002.

Nearly three months later, the Chinese ministry of health reported that there had been 300 cases of an "acute respiratory syndrome" in the province.

China has faced criticism for failing to report the full scale of the outbreak initially.

The government apologised for its slow response and the health minister and mayor of Beijing were sacked.

Nearly half the cases in China have been in Beijing, where cinemas, theatres and internet cafes were closed at the height of the crisis.

But fears that migrant workers fleeing the city would start a sweeping rural epidemic have proven largely unfounded.

In May, with renewed political will and rigorous measures to stop the disease spreading, cases in China began decreasing steadily.

In late May, the World Health Organization (WHO) lifted the travel warning it had put on Guangdong.

In June, the organisation lifted the warning for other regions, then dropped China from its list of infected areas after 20 days with no new cases.

Hong Kong
Deaths: 298

Hong Kong's Sars outbreak began when an infected doctor travelled there from Guangdong in China in mid-February.

He seeded a cluster of cases among guests in the hotel where he stayed. The virus spread to Canada, Singapore and Vietnam as infected guests flew home.

One guest triggered an outbreak at Hong Kong's Prince of Wales Hospital. Another cluster of cases - more than 300 - developed at the city's Amoy Gardens apartment block. An official report concluded that the virus had spread through a sewage pipe.

The Hong Kong authorities have been criticised for a slow initial response, particularly for failing to quarantine patients in early cases.

The city has had more Sars cases relative to its population than any other.

All Hong Kong's schools were closed in mid-March, and the economy has been hit hard as tourist numbers plummeted.

In late May, however, the infection rate had dropped sufficiently for the WHO to lift its travel warning on Hong Kong and for about 380,000 primary school children to return to school.

On June 23, the territory - along with the rest of China - was removed from the WHO's list of Sars-infected areas.

Deaths: 84

Taiwan's first case of Sars was reported on 18 March, but the outbreak really took hold during a large surge in late April and early May.

The WHO says 90% of cases in Taiwan have been related to hospital situations.

A lapse in infection control at one hospital is thought to have resulted in a large number of new exposures - which then spread as patients were transferred to other hospitals.

More than 150 doctors and nurses have left their jobs in protest at the lack of safeguards and two hospitals have been fined for covering up the spread of the disease.

Taipei's top health official, Chiu Shu-ti, resigned on 25 May. She had offered to quit a month earlier, but Mayor Ma Ying-jeou asked her to stay.

The island's record number of new infections in one day was 65 on 22 May, when the WHO extended its travel warning about Taipei to cover the whole of Taiwan.

The outbreak has prompted a rare gesture of solidarity from mainland China - an offer of help to combat Sars - but Taipei refused it, demanding that Beijing stop blocking its efforts to join the WHO.

On 28 May, the WHO said numbers of new cases were declining and that it was confident the trend would continue if infection control measures continued.

On 5 July, Taiwan was the last country to be removed from the WHO's list of areas still infected by the virus.

Deaths: 38

Canada is the worst-hit country outside Asia. The virus entered the country when a woman infected in a hotel in Hong Kong returned home.

Five members of her family caught the virus and a chain of infection began, extending to health workers at Toronto's Scarborough Grace Hospital.

By late April, quarantine measures seemed to have brought the outbreak under control. The WHO lifted its travel advisory on Toronto which had hit the city's tourism industry hard.

But the disease resurfaced a month later, with a new cluster of cases in a hospital in the north end of the city.

Toronto become the first place to be taken off and then put back on the WHO's list of affected areas.

Health authorities were criticised for letting their guard down too soon, amid reports that some quarantined people had been ignoring isolation orders.

The authorities appealed to hundreds of health workers in Toronto to voluntarily put themselves into quarantine.

The US health authorities reinstated a travel alert, urging visitors to Toronto to take precautions to avoid infection.

On 2 July the city was declared Sars-free by the WHO.

Deaths: 32

Singapore has been praised by the World Health Organisation for its "exemplary" handling of the Sars virus and its prompt reporting of cases.

Singapore's first Sars victim was Esther Mok who returned home after staying on the same floor of a Hong Kong hotel as an infected doctor from southern China. Many of the later cases have been traced back to her.

The city state has taken stringent measures to prevent the spread of the disease, including thermal-imaging of air passengers to detect those with high temperatures.

Patients suspected of having Sars have been isolated in a single hospital.

Early in the outbreak many thousands of primary school students were given digital thermometers by the government for daily temperature checks to prevent the spread of Sars.

On 31 May, the World Health Organization declared Singapore Sars-free.

Deaths: 5

Vietnam has been hailed as a model case in the fight against Sars, becoming the first country in the world to contain an outbreak of the deadly virus.

A Chinese-American businessman who had stayed in the Hong Kong Metropole Hotel at the same time as an infected Chinese doctor flew back to Hanoi, taking the deadly virus with him.

The disease killed five people and infected 63, but on 28 April the health ministry declared it had brought the spread of the virus under control after 20 days with no new infections.

Vietnam has been praised for its international co-operation, openness about the issue and for health authorities' swift action in isolating suspected Sars patients and sealing off affected hospitals.

The country's tourism industry has been heavily affected, however. The state airline is slashing fares through the summer and many hotels are offering special rates to entice guests back after visitor arrivals plunged 30% in April.

Deaths: 2

Malaysia has had five reported probable cases of Sars, including two deaths.

Shortly after the first death in early April, the country became the first to impose a travel ban.

Tourists from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam and Canada were refused entry - although the restrictions were lifted after about a week.

The economy has been hit by fears over the virus, prompting an interest rate cut and a 7.3bn ringgit ($1.92bn) emergency economic package to help boost the economy.

Deaths: 2

The Philippines was declared Sars-free on 21 May, after 20 days with no new cases detected.

The WHO has praised the Philippine Government for what it said was an efficient surveillance and reporting system in dealing with the illness.

Deaths: 2

The first person in Thailand to die from Sars was Dr Carlo Urbani, the WHO official who first identified Sars.

An elderly man who had recently arrived in the country from Hong Kong also died.

Thailand's security measures included requirements for visitors from high-risk countries to wear masks and for Thais returning from infected areas to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

Thailand's finance ministry said on 20 May that Sars would have little impact on the country's economy, and retained its forecast of 5.1% economic growth for this year.

But Thai officials have reported that foreign tourist arrivals dropped by 40.8% in the first three weeks of April compared with the same period a year ago.

South Africa
Deaths: 1

South Africa had one death from Sars in April - a businessman who had been in Hong Kong a month earlier.

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