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Home > News > PTI

WHO says India is SARS-free: Sushma Swaraj

May 01, 2003 18:07 IST

The World Health Organisation has described India as a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-free country, Union Health Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Delhi on Thursday.

"As on date, India can be called a SARS-free country," she told reporters after reviewing the situation at a high level meeting in Delhi.

Although 20 persons have tested positive for the SARS virus, none of them have fallen in the WHO definition of the killer disease, she said.

Briefing newspersons after the Centre-State Joint Action Group reviewed the situation, she said though 20 cases were found to be SARS positive in laboratory tests, WHO dictates that mere lab diagnosis is not enough to declare a person as suffering from SARS. The person should also have clinical symptoms.

"None of these cases fall within the purview of the WHO definition," she said.

"Tests are only supportive and corroborative. If lab diagnosis is positive, but clinical and epidemiological proof is not there, we do not take it as SARS probable," she said.

WHO representative to India Dr S J Habayeb, who attended the meeting, said the laboratory tests indicating that there were at least 19 confirmed cases in the country were 'absolutely not reliable'.

Asked whether the government was not aware of the WHO definition earlier, she said, "We were very cautious. Rather overcautious. We wanted to be very transparent as the general public will not understand the difference between probable and suspect cases."

Stating that India was not a 'locally-transmitting' country, Swaraj said that WHO had placed India initially as a 'reporting' country.

"Now WHO has removed India from that category also," she said.

To a question whether there would be any slackness on the level of alertness, she said, "There will be no complacency on our part or on the part of state governments."

© Copyright 2005 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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Number of User Comments: 25

Sub: Prevetion Is Better Than Cure..

1) A lot of ppl wear mask as they think that it is a lot safer to do so. 2)However, did you ever ask yourself ...

Posted by Vikram Prabhu K.N.


It is distressing to see that people are worried about the real threat of SARS in India. It is a disease which has essentiallyentered the ...

Posted by Padmanabhan

Sub: an economic gath-bandhan can be contemplated.

Raviji, your "soch" is in the right and the most positive direction. However, rather than feasting on the misfortune of our neighbour, irrespective of her ...

Posted by p chandra

Sub: SARS---Be Afraid

WHO has declared India SARS free. But we still have to take more precautions coz We had already in Danger as we found atleast 20 ...

Posted by Jai Chandak, Akot

Sub: Who says so ?

Who says ? WHO says something! And we believe! Even quote ! And relax ? Why cant Sushma herself says so ? She is in ...

Posted by p chandra



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