Friday, May 09, 2003
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By Vladimir Radyuhin
A 25-year-old man hospitalised four days ago in Russia's Far East has been tentatively diagnosed as having SARS, pending laboratory tests, the Russian Health Ministry said on Thursday.
The young man did not travel to China, but has been working in a hotel popular with Chinese traders in the border town of Blagoveshchensk. His condition has been described as grave but stable. So far there have been no confirmed cases of the killer pneumonia in Russia, though more than 20 suspected cases have been reported in regions bordering China. Russian authorities have partially closed the border with China, only allowing Chinese and Russian citizens to return home, and the Government is considering total closure of the gigantic 4,000-odd km border if the situation gets out of hand.
Hundreds of thousands of people do brisk trade under visa-free regime. The Russian Civil Aviation Authority has ordered all airlines to stop selling tickets to China and South-East Asia and be ready for a ban on air links.
Moscow has started disinfecting the metro and other public transportation and is distributing millions of SARS-education brochures to residents to prevent the deadly disease from creeping into the capital.
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