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Beijing Shuts Down Hospital Due to SARS - 2003-04-24


A Beijing hospital treating victims of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome has been sealed off in an effort to stem the spread of the disease. Police have been posted at the building's entrances.

No one was allowed to leave or enter the People's Hospital of Beijing University on Thursday after authorities ordered the facility sealed for "disinfection." Hospital staff say the closure is related to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome but would not go into detail.

About 22,00 people work at the 15,00 bed hospital - which is one of Beijing's largest medical facilities. The city has reported 35 deaths from SARS and about 700 cases.

Late Wednesday, Beijing's government said it would quarantine those exposed to SARS and restrict access to buildings that may be contaminated.

China, where the disease is thought to have originated, has been hardest hit by the virus with 106 people dead and more than 23,00 cases reported so far.

The official SARS count in China has risen dramatically after the central government on Sunday adopted a policy of open reporting.

SARS, which leads to serious pneumonia, has killed at least 251 people around the world and infected more than 43,00 people in at least 25 countries.

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