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Cablegate: Warden Message - Action Request in Paras 1 and 5

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 000714

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR CA/OCS/ACS/EAP (DGOODING, SLAWRENCE)
DEPT ALSO FOR EAP/BCLTV AND EAP/EX JJENKINS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC VM
SUBJECT: WARDEN MESSAGE - action request in paraS 1 and 5

1. Mission has received and transmitted the travel warning ref
a. However, Mission wishes to point out that the comment in the
third paragraph, ".the Department of State has suspended official
travel to Vietnam until further notice" is not the Mission's
understanding of the current situation. Mission has merely
deferred non-essential TDY travel. Some essential TDY travel
continues, and PCS and other official travel by officials
assigned to Mission continues as planned.

Action requested: Mission requests that the Department issue a
corrected travel warning immediately.

2. In addition, Mission sent the following update on the SARS
situation via the warden system on Monday afternoon (March 24th).
Mission would like to update and re-send the content of this
message daily.

3. BEGIN TEXT OF WARDEN MESSAGE SENT.

Further to this morning's message, we will begin a daily update
of the SARS situation. The picture is actually a bit improved
today:

Authorized departure of Embassy family members:
Although WHO and CDC say the situation is confined and effective
steps have been taken to isolate those suspected of being
infected by SARS, in order to assure the peace of mind and safety
of mission families, especially those with children, the
Ambassador has requested, and the State Department has approved,
voluntary departure for dependents of Embassy and Consulate
staff. (We do not yet have an indication of how many family
members, if any, intend to leave.)
The following statistics were taken from the World Health
Organization's (WHO) website. This site is updated regularly and
can be found at www.who.int/csr. Additional information can also
be found on the US Centers for Disease Control website at
www.cdc.gov.

SITUATION AS OF MARCH 22, 2003
Worldwide, all SARS cases are being classified based on whether
that case meets certain criteria based on serious symptoms
described on the WHO and CDC websites. Although these symptoms
are strong criteria in an area with SARS, they may also pick up
some cases that are caused by other diseases unrelated to SARS.
While some laboratory data suggest possible viruses as being
responsible, it will still take some time to develop a test that
can positively detect SARS.

Worldwide:
Number of cases worldwide: 386
Number of deaths worldwide: 11
Suspected and/or probable cases are found in the following
countries: Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region of China, Italy, Ireland, Singapore,
Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom,
United States, and Vietnam.
The WHO's website indicates 22 suspected cases in the United
States on March 22nd, CDC's website indicates 37.

Vietnam:
(These figures do not include the "index patient" who came in
from Hong Kong, was later medically evacuated back to Hong Kong,
and sadly, died in Hong Kong.)
Number of cases in Vietnam: 63
Number of deaths in Vietnam: 2

Unofficial Reports:

Unofficial reports indicate that there were two new "probable"
cases admitted to Bach Mai hospital this weekend - both
epidemiologically linked to health care workers at the Hanoi
French Hospital.

Unofficial reports further indicate:
-One patient who was on a mechanical respirator was extubated,
leaving 2 patients on ventilators and 4 patients in critical
condition.
-Most other patients remain stable and many are improving.
-Worldwide the rate of fatality among SARS cases is 3%.
-Two patients have recovered and been determined to be no longer
infectious to others and released to go home.
-The condition of the boy medically evacuated from Ho Chi Minh
City to Taipei continues to improve.
-The incubation period for SARS has passed and the boy's 65
schoolmates who were on the same school trip have all been
determined not to have contracted SARS.
-There were two other possible SARS cases in Ho Chi Minh City,
but both have been ruled out.

We hope this information is helpful. Please look for further
updates each morning.

4. End text of warden message sent.

5. Given the time difference and the necessity to awaken OCS
duty officer to obtain clearance for warden messages, Mission
requests blanket clearance to update the content of the above
message and send the updated information each morning.

6. Mission also requests clearance to add the following
correction to tomorrow morning's warden message:
"Further to our warden message issued on the morning of March
24th, the following correction is necessary. All official travel
to Vietnam is not suspended. Some officials coming for non-
essential purposes have been asked to defer their travel.
Officials assigned to Vietnam and some official visitors continue
to travel to and from Vietnam. The department of state remains
concerned about the unavailability of adequate healthcare in
Vietnam and continues to recommend that non-essential travel or
stays in Vietnam be deferred.

7. WHO and CDC, as well as the GVN, indicate that the outbreak
is confined in Vietnam and effective steps have been taken to
isolate those suspected of being infected by SARS. Barring any
new introduction of SARS to Vietnam, it does seem that the
situation is contained.

BURGHARDT

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