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Informations from the Embassy in Beijing SinOptic webpage on SARS

10 - Shanghai, 12.05.2003

Dear compatriots,

As promised on May 9, 2003, here are some clarifications to the 20 paragraphs of the "No. 2 Notice" from the Shanghai Municipal Government dated May 8, 2003. A copy of this notice is online. The English version can also be consulted on the web site of Shanghai's Municipal Public Health Bureau. This website also provides daily updates on the situation in Shanghai.

Further information concerning the circular can also be obtained by calling Shanghai's hotline at 95120. The hotline is trilingual and will answer questions in English, Chinese and Japanese.

The main points of the circular can be resumed as follows:

  • Residents of Shanghai traveling to SARS-affected areas in China or abroad must upon their return, submit themselves to a quarantine of 14 days at home. The quarantine will include their family members, for instance children going to school. The definition of affected area is still unclear and is handled differently by the various districts of Shanghai. It clearly includes the "most seriously affected areas" like Hong Kong, Beijing, Inner Mongolia, Tianjin, Shanxi, Taipei but it also includes all Chinese Provinces where SARS-cases have been confirmed. This presently represents 25 Provinces according to a list by China's Health Ministry and is changing on a daily basis. It therefore includes Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Anhui where a few individual cases have been confirmed. Suzhou, Kunshan and Wuxi however, seem to be treated with a certain flexibility at least as long as there is no confirmed case. According to the authorities "more questions will be answered gradually over the next few days", as far as concrete cases are concerned. One of the problems seems to be the long queues at the Shanghai borders on the highways which is a nuisance to regular commuters.
  • Visitors to Shanghai are free to move about in the city but are subject to daily medical check-ups. They must also keep a logbook of the contacts made and the places visited. All travelers are presently also being checked upon entry into Shanghai, for instance at airports, train stations and on the highways. The temperature is taken and a health questionnaire must be filled in and handed to medical staff.
  • Travel to and from China. Travelers in transit through Beijing and Hong Kong airports will also be subjected to the above rules. This means that transit through Beijing and Hong Kong will in the case of returning residents lead to quarantine. This should however not be the case for a direct flight from Europe to Shanghai.

The Consulate is aware that many individual questions remain unanswered.
There will be a number of wrong decisions and practices by district authorities. Should you feel that you are under such circumstances, please contact this Consulate with as many details as possible. We also recommend to use the various hotlines that the Provinces have set-up. You are welcome to submit questions of general interest to the Consulate, preferably by email. We will try to answer as many as possible or bring them to the attention of the competent authorities during a future briefing.

Furthermore, the Swiss Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai is planning an forum on the implications of SARS for Swiss companies this week. More information will come from the Chamber itself to its members.

A list of hotline numbers and some interesting web sites on SARS is enclosed for your information.

With kind regards

The Consul General of Switzerland and his team.

Hans J. Roth

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