SARS to curb sports visitors

Health and Olympics officials agreed yesterday to ask sports delegations from countries badly affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) not to visit Greece in preparation for the Athens 2004 Games, for fear of spreading the disease. It was also decided to recommend that Chinese Olympics officials refrain from coming to Greece to observe local preparations for the Games ahead of Beijing’s hosting of the 2008 Olympics. Today, International Olympics Committee officials will meet in Madrid to discuss possible measures in view of the SARS epidemic. Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, president of the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee, will attend the meeting. Meanwhile, Health Ministry officials decided yesterday to conduct a series of SARS readiness drills in the main Athens state hospitals. Initial tests on a young South African air hostess hospitalized in Athens this week after being suspected of having contracted SARS have proved negative. By yesterday, SARS had killed at least 602 people worldwide.