[EDITORIALS]Stand up to SARSThe plan to designate a hospital for the primary treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, was canceled because of demonstrations by residents in the neighborhood of the candidate hospital. We are concerned with possible glitches in stopping SARS from spreading. China is, in fact, at war against SARS. But we simply gave up designating a hospital for primary treatment of SARS. If residents’ demonstrations can disrupt the quarantine system for SARS, this is not a country with a forceful government.
There is no scientific basis in the argument of possible infections that the residents put forward in opposing the designation. Nevertheless, the quarantine authority succumbed to the demonstrations and gave up the principles and standards already set up by it. The cancellation deserves severe criticism. Because this sets a bad precedent, how will this country effectively cope with SARS if it become rampant?
We have now secured only 26 beds at 13 hospitals nationwide for special treatment of SARS. But we already have 10 suspicious patients. We will be short of beds very soon. Many people have already expressed their concern that the government’s measures against SARS are feeble. Patients who might have symptoms are rooming with patients who have showed no signs of the disease. The separation of suspicious patients is not strictly enforced and watched. The education of employees in hospitals designated for special treatment has not been comprehensive.
There is no royal road to preventing SARS from spreading. First, patients should not be let in through a thorough quarantine. If a patient displays suspicious symptoms, the patient needs to be separated -- immediately. Vietnam succeeded in quelling SARS by separating patients at the first sign of the disease. China failed to do that and is now in big trouble. We should not follow China’s path. The government should secure a hospital for the special treatment of SARS as soon as possible.