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Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to ensure people of Chinese origin are not discriminated against as a result of the public concerns over SARS; and if he will make a statement. [111786]

The provisions of the Race Relations Act 1976 apply equally to all people irrespective of colour, race, nationality and ethnic or national origin. It is unlawful for anyone to discriminate against another person on any of these grounds in any area covered by the legislation.The Chief Medical Officer has advised that at present SARS poses a low risk in this country. On 1 May the World Health Organisation removed the UK from the list of SARS affected areas, as there has been no transmission in the UK for over 20 days.The Department of Health continues to take this situation extremely seriously and have implemented a number of precautionary measures to stop the spread of this infection in the UK. They are taking a precautionary but proportionate approach and all measures are kept under continuous review.

The current number of probable cases in this country stands at six. All of these patients have recovered and been discharged from hospital.