Going on the air Tuesday at the Ekho Moskvy radio station, chief Russian sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko came out against closing the border with China.
"One could feel safe, sound and cheerful if the border is closed," said Onishchenko. "But this will affect the economy enormously and damage the small business. He did not exclude however that if need be the borders could be closed.
Onishchenko reported his having signed letters recommending all the regions that they should act according to the following scheme: "the border is open, goods traffic is allowed but it is preferable that Chinese citizens leave this country while Russian residents be let in. "This tactics has so far justified itself and the virus has not been imported," underlined Onishchenko.
"The demand for a complete exclusion of SARS cases on the territory of Russia would be unwise," assumes Onishchenko. "What is important for us is the fact of an early detection of a SARS case rather than the fact of its import." Onishechenko praised the embassies of the two countries for their assistance: the Chinese embassy provides information on the SARS condition in China, trying to forestall the developments.
World statistics indicates 6,500 SARS cases, including 500 lethal ones. China still remains the most dangerous breeding grounds of the disease with no signs of mitigation despite unprecedented measures being taken by the Chinese government.
Onishchenko has reported that the current pursuit is to drive all the 500 Russian children from China.