Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Asian students
still welcome at
isle colleges

Unlike Berkeley, HPU and
UH are accepting enrollees from
regions hit hardest by SARS

SARS hasn't peaked in China, WHO says

The University of Hawaii and Hawaii Pacific University so far are not barring students from areas in Asia heavily affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The University of California announced last week it wouldn't allow students to enroll this summer from SARS-infected China, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

"We are not yet at the point where we are going to follow UC-Berkeley's rather extreme decision, but certainly we are monitoring the situation," Jenny Samaan, director of the UH Office of International Education, said today.

Officials have halted all UH-sponsored trips to those areas and they are asking students, scholars and faculty from there to cancel their trips to UH if they have signs of the illness, Samaan said.

If they develop symptoms after arrival, Samaan said, they are advised to see a health care provider immediately and to detail their travel history. Samaan said SARS fact sheets are being included in pre-arrival information sent to international students and given to them again on arrival so they can recognize symptoms of the virus.

Linda Duckworth, director of UH-Manoa's International Student Services, said she's trying to schedule a meeting with representatives of undergraduate and graduate admissions, the Outreach College, Manoa International Education Committee, University Health Services and others concerned with international students.

The largest group of students from Asia on the Manoa Campus is from Japan; the second is from China, and there are many students from Taiwan and Hong Kong, she said, "so this is an issue of concern."

Hawaii Pacific University is working closely with the state Health Department, asking its advice, said Scott Stensrud, HPU associate vice president for enrollment management.

"At this point, they have not indicated they see any reason for us not to allow students from those countries coming this summer," he said. "Should their advice change, we would review our policy as well. We're looking to the experts on this."

Neither institution has an estimate of the number of students enrolled from infected areas.


SARS hasn’t peaked
in China, WHO says

BEIJING >> The head of the World Health Organization cautioned today that the SARS virus still has not peaked in China, while Beijing warned it will punish officials who do not work hard enough to fight the disease.

Strict measures have put more than 25,000 people in quarantine across China, where news slowly emerged of more protests by those fearful that SARS patients at local hospitals will infect their communities.

Media reports in Beijing quoted Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao as saying that while progress against SARS had been made, the outbreak in the Chinese capital "still remains grave."

The worldwide death toll from SARS rose to at least 480 after 16 new deaths were reported: eight in China, six in Hong Kong, and one each in Singapore and Taiwan. More than 6,600 people have been infected, mostly in China.

In Brussels, Belgium, WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland warned that China still did not have a handle on SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome.

"Certainly, we have not seen a peak in China yet," Brundtland said. "There is obviously an increase in the outbreak going on."


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