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Taiwan suffers SARS blow

Taiwan is still on the lookout for SARS.
Taiwan is still on the lookout for SARS.

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TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Japan says a tourist visiting from Taiwan has developed SARS symptoms, dealing a blow to Taiwan's efforts to remove itself from a blakclist of SARS-affected areas.

Taiwan posted its 10th straight day without a new infection Thursday, inching towards a declaration that it had brought the virus under control -- but the case in Japan has cast a cloud over the island's bill of health.

The World Health Organisation said on its Web site that Japan had reported a probable case involving a 33-year-old Taiwanese tourist who arrived in Tokyo on June 21 and developed symptoms two days later.

The tourist was immediately hospitalized. Initial tests have ruled out other common causes of severe respiratory disease and further testing is underway, the WHO said.

The news comes after China reported its first case of SARS for two weeks on Wednesday. But the WHO has said there was no cause to worry as the 77-year-old woman was reclassified from a suspect case to a probable case.(South China reports new SARS case)

Since appearing in southern China last November, SARS has infected around 8,400 people and killed about 800 people in close to 30 countries and territories across the world.

In Taiwan, the third hardest hit area after China and Hong Kong, 682 people have fallen sick with SARS, and 84 have died. Nearly 50 people are still being treated in hospital.

Taiwan and the Canadian business center of Toronto are the only areas where the WHO fears SARS is still spreading after Beijing was removed from the list of SARS-affected places on Tuesday.

Last week, WHO dropped a travel warning for Taiwan after official efforts to prevent SARS carriers exporting the disease were seen to be having an effect.

The island also showed that the number of new cases and hospitalized patients had dropped significantly.

Taiwan lifted a mandatory 10-day quarantine for Taiwanese and visitors from Hong Kong and Macau on Thursday and said passengers on public transportation were no longer required to wear masks.

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