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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Guests to Be Checked for SARS

ReutersPolicemen and a medic in protective masks meeting a train from China on its arrival Monday at Moscow's Kazansky Station.
St. Petersburg is taking precautions to protect the city from an outbreak of SARS during its 300th birthday celebrations, which begin at the end of this week.

All members of official foreign delegations will be required to fill out medical questionnaires upon arrival, describing their recent travel and contacts with citizens of countries affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome, said Galina Volkova, the head of the especially dangerous infections department at the St. Petersburg State Epidemic Watch Center. They will also be asked to say whether they have a cough, fever or other symptoms.

The St. Petersburg Health Committee has allocated money to modernize special wards in the city's main Botkin Hospital and ordered 250 SARS diagnostic tests. Three hundred extra beds have been set aside in city hospitals to handle any outbreak.

The city's epidemiologists have also recommended that the city government disinfect the city's 1,300 trams, 2,500 buses, 700 trolleybuses and the minivans that serve as taxis.

Foreign visitors will be given leaflets with telephone numbers for medical services where staff will speak several languages, Volkova said.

Meanwhile, the west Siberian city of Omsk shored up measures against SARS on Monday after two servicemen displaying symptoms of the deadly virus were taken off a Vladivostok-Kharkiv train. The train car in which the recently demobilized servicemen were riding was cordoned off by police, and the rest of the train's passengers were being given medical checkups, Interfax said.

Russia has no confirmed cases of SARS, which has killed hundreds of people around the world. Medical results are still out on 25-year-old Denis Soinikov, who was thought to be the country's first case, a State Health Inspectorate spokeswoman said Monday. Soinikov has been hospitalized in the far eastern city of Blagoveshchensk since May 3.

(AP, MT)