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Singapore quarantines 70 after Taiwan confirms SARS case

Health authorities downplay epidemic threat

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Singapore has quarantined 70 people who may have come into contact with a Taiwanese researcher who this week became the first new case of SARS since July.

The victim, a 44-year-old male, is believed to have contracted the illness through his work as a researcher as Taiwan's Institute of Preventative Medicine. He had been studying the disease, the Taiwanese Center for Disease Control said earlier this week.

However, the unnamed researcher travelled to Singapore between 7 and 10 December. On confirmation that he was suffering from SARS, the Singaporean authorities began to trace his possible contacts, then isolate and monitor them, Associated Press reported last night.

Officials in Taiwan and Singapore do not believe the disease, which was officially contained in July following its outbreak earlier this year, was likely to spread further. The World Health Organisation does not yet believe a second epidemic is likely. However, it has warned the local health organisations to be vigilant and to keep preventative measures in place. ®

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