USP TIGHTENS SECURITY IN WAKE OF ANTHRAX SCARE

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By Lauren Robinson

SUVA, Fiji Islands (November 1, 2001 -- Wansolwara Online/Pasifik Nius)---University of the South Pacific authorities have tightened security following the anthrax scare at the campus book center on Tuesday.

[Note: USP was hit by a second anthrax scare on Friday. See: http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2001/November/11-02-06.htm

A directive was issued to all departments stating:

§ All mail addressed to an academic office should be taken to the mailroom.

§ No envelope should be hand-delivered to an academic office or given to a staff member in that office.

Public relations director Susannah Thackray said people on campus should refer all "suspicious" letters or parcels to the Institute of Applied Sciences, which has the conditions and necessary equipment to determine whether the material is infected.

"If people at the university are found to be doing this, there will be very serious action taken," she said.

She added that university departments would be issued with instructions from Interpol on how to deal with letters or parcels that are infected, or are believed to be infected with anthrax.

Apaitia Vakacengu, a forensic officer with the Central Police Station, told Wansolwara Online that police are still awaiting results on the sample taken from the book center.

"We're still waiting for word from the hospital on the culture... We have to see if it is growing. So I'm still checking. So far we still have to wait for the final reading," Vakacegu said.

USP's book center has reopened its computer shop in the School of Humanities building as a temporary setup for its customers.

This comes after the bookshop was closed to the public due to the anthrax scare.

Manager Armin Kullack said that the move was made to meet its customers’ needs.

"This is simply an emergency setup for the computer shops and people, particularly those who bought through the computer shop," said Kullack.

"A decision should be made on Monday about the book center but it won't open before then," he added.

He also said that the book center stood to lose several thousand dollars a day in revenue as a result of the scare.

The scare comes just a week before the university is due to begin its second semester examinations.

Title -- 3457 HEALTH: USP tightens security in wake of anthrax scare Date -- 2 November 2001 Byline – Lauren Robinson Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Wansolwara Online, 1/11/01 Copyright -- USP Journalism Status -- Unabridged

USP Pacific Journalism Online: http://www.usp.ac.fj/journ/  USP Journalism on the Fiji crisis (UTS host): http://www.journalism.uts.edu.au/  USP Pasifik Nius stories on Scoop (NZ): http://www.scoop.co.nz/international.htm  Have your say: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/vgbook/109497.gbook 

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