WHO on 5th April reported a cumulative total of 2416 cases of SARS with 89 deaths from 18 countries. Recent deaths have occurred in Hong Kong SARS (3), Malaysia (1), and Singapore (1).
New cases that were reported reported in Canada (5), Hong Kong SARS (39), Taiwan, China (2), Singapore (1), the United Kingdom (1), and the United States of America.
The SARS outbreak in Hong Kong has developed an unusual pattern of transmission that is not fully understood. The increasing number of cases indicate that the disease has spread beyond the initial focus in hospitals. Concern have been particulaly expressed with residential buildings in the Amoy Garden housing estate in the Kowloon district of Hong Kong.
WHO has revised its advice to international travellers on the basis of new data from China and Hong Kong to prevent the further international spread of SARS. In a press release this morning, WHO issued the following advice:
The World Health Organization (WHO) today began recommending that persons travelling to Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China and Guangdong Province, China consider postponing all but essential travel. This updated travel advice comes as a result of new developments in the multi-country outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
A further release said that the new travel advice is intended to limit further international spread of SARS by restricting travel to areas where the transmission patterns of SARS are not fully understood. The SARS situation, which is rapidly evolving, is under constant assessment by WHO in collaboration with three global networks of experts. The new advice is issued as part of a series of measures that will change as more information about SARS becomes available. This is the first time in the history of WHO that such travel advice has been issued for specific geographical areas.