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Govt not moving fast enough on SARS screening

Govt not moving fast enough on SARS screening

National is calling for screening of passengers coming to New Zealand from areas affected by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, despite the Government's insistence that this can't be done.

"I am concerned that the Government isn't taking the World Health Organisation's recommendation that countries should be screening passengers from the affected areas seriously.

"It is quite simple to screen people by asking where they have been and if they have symptoms. This is even more important given reports that the disease is now as close as Australia.

"I am pleased the Government has moved to make the disease notifiable but we need to try and identify patients as early as possible rather than wait until they are so ill they see a doctor.

"There needs to be screening of passengers at our airports. We also need some answers as to what safeguards are in place for fellow passengers and airport users.

"The Ministry of Health number, 0800 0800 80, needs to be widely advertised so that people need to know where to go to seek advice and help," says Dr Scott.

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