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SARS declared national threat JAKARTA - Vice President Hamzah Haz declared a deadly flu-like disease a "national threat" today while Indonesia prepared to grant health officials emergency powers to forcibly quarantine and treat patients with the illness. "We must treat this as a national threat," Haz told reporters in Jakarta, the capital. "If not, this will be a new burden for all of us."
Indonesia has no confirmed cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, but is preparing for the possibility because of an outbreak in neighboring Singapore and other Asian countries. One woman has been hospitalized in the central Javanese town of Semarang with SARS-like symptoms but health ministry officials said it's too early to say if she has the illness.
Schools on Batam, an Indonesian island off the coast of Singapore, have been closed from Thursday to Sunday as a precaution, local officials said. In Singapore, four people have died from the disease and 95 others have come down with it. There have been reports of several suspected Sars cases in Indonesia in recent days, but none have been confirmed.
Still, the country is under "the threat of an epidemic," said Dr Umar Achmadi, director general for communicable disease control at the health ministry. Achmadi said the government would issue an official warning today and give health authorities the power to quarantine people suspected of having SARS. Those refusing to be isolated could be punished with up to a year in prison, he said.



Posted in SARS @ 03 April 2003 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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