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Informations from the Embassy in Beijing SinOptic webpage on SARS

12 - Shanghai, 21.05.2003

Dear compatriots

As promised in my last mail, I am now able to clarify the issue of possible quarantine after returning from SARS-affected areas in China.

Attached you will find the list received from the Ministry of Public Health dated May 20, 2003 (pdf, 1 p., 12 kb). According to the rules set by the Shanghai Municipal Government, any Shanghai-resident returning from any of the Provinces listed under point 1, or returning from any City listed under point 2 will have to undergo a 14 days-quarantine at home.

The list will be updated regularly. It is apparently not available yet online but I will inform you of any web site as soon as it becomes available.

Best regards.

The Consul General of Switzerland

Hans J. Roth

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11 - Shanghai, 20.05.2003

Dear compatriots,

As promised, the Mayor of Shanghai, Mr. Han Zheng, this morning held the second briefing for the Consular Corps of Shanghai. To underline the importance of the foreign community to the Municipal Government, the briefing was also attended by several other high ranking officials such as the Vice-Mayor in charge of foreign relations as well as the Secretary General of the Municipal Government. The meeting was held in an open and candid atmosphere. The Consulates prepared a common list of pending issues presented to the Mayor by the Dean of the Consular Corps. These issues were immediately addressed by the Mayor. The meeting was concluded with a question and answer session.

I am happy to say that all issues raised by the Consulates General during the meeting were already known to the Municipal Government and had obviously been discussed extensively among government authorities. The Government is fully aware of the issues still pending and is working hard to resolve them. Some of the questions were answered immediately by the Mayor himself, showing excellent knowledge of the problems raised. For the other ones, he promised an answer within a few days.

Among others, the following issues were addressed:

  1. Wish for clear and understandable travelling rules for everyone including the district and county level authorities: the municipal authorities fully accept that there are still inconsistencies and they are working to solve them. A full list of SARS-affected areas according to Chinese definitions was promised for later today. It will be updated on a daily basis.
  2. Difference of treatment between residents and visitors: the wish of the foreign community residing in Shanghai to be treated on an equal basis to the visitors coming to Shanghai is being considered. A decision is expected in the next few days.
  3. Transit at airports. Shanghai will now fully follow WHO-guidelines and international practice. A transit at Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore and other airports in SARS-affected areas will therefore not anymore lead to a quarantine in Shanghai.
  4. AC and filters in buildings: a notice to property managers to regularly clean the AC-systems and filters in their buildings has already been issued. This will be changed into a rule and the implementation will be controlled.
  5. Coordination with other Provinces in the Delta-region: the Shanghai authorities, are fully aware of this necessity and are regularly consulting with their neighbors, mainly the Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces, but also within a wider scope of the Eastern China region.
  6. Worldlink medical clinics: these medical clinics are not up to the necessary standards concerning the separation of patients with fever from other patients. A new Worldlink facility with state of the art hardware will open in the next few days in the Luwan Central Hospital.

The Consulate General has the very clear impression that the Shanghai Municipal authorities have a full understanding of the SARS issue. They are showing excellent competence in their way to handle it and are fully aware of the problems important to the foreign community. They are accepting that shortcomings still exist but they are working hard to address them. The difficulties faced are largely due to the number of authorities involved, from the State Council down to the local Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The fact that such a situation is new to everyone does naturally not make things easier.

For your reference I am also enclosing a list of the local CDC's in Shanghai (pdf, 1 p., 16 kb). Let me also remind you of the web site where the complete list of our previous communications is online.

We will naturally continue to inform you of any new development in the next few days, hopefully a lifting of some of the more restrictive measures.

The Consul General of Switzerland

Hans J. Roth

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