Authorities ready for Asian killer

Greece is ready to handle a possible outbreak of a mysterious atypical pneumonia whose appearance in Southeast Asia prompted the World Health Organization to issue a rare emergency warning, the government said yesterday. Health Minister Costas Stefanis said certain hospitals have already been put on standby to treat patients, but stressed that, so far, there have been no suspicious cases of the acute respiratory disease in the country. «We are fully prepared,» he said. Authorities at Athens Airport are already on the alert, while Piraeus port officials have also been instructed to ask all incoming vessels from countries where incidents of the deadly disease have been registered whether anyone on board has developed similar symptoms. At least 10 people around the world have died so far from the disease. Yesterday, Greek health officials denied that the death, from severe pneumonia on Monday, of a young mother in Thrace was due to atypical pneumonia, arguing that her symptoms had been different. As a precaution, forensic tests have been ordered.

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