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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, April 3) - China's health
minister Zhang Wenkang has held his first media conference since an outbreak of
atypical pneumonia began in November.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) has killed 46 people in
China, with the worldwide death toll reaching 80.

There have been more than 2,300 cases reported worldwide.

Zhang said the epidemic is under control, and says China's slow
response to the illness was due to the unusual nature of the virus, which had
not been documented before.

He said it is now safe to visit China and he hopes those who
have decided not to travel will reconsider their decision.

A World Health Organisation team has recently arrived in the
southern province of Guangdong, where the oubreak is believed to have begun.

The WHO said it is too early to declare the virus under control
in China or elsewhere.

Countries around the world are introducing measures to try to
stop the spread of the disease and travelers are being urged to postpone trips
to southern China and Hong Kong.

April 4, 2003

Radio Australia: 

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