Singapore slaps on its first wrist tag to SARS home quarantine offender


SINGAPORE (AP) - Seeking to contain an outbreak of a deadly flu-like illness, Singapore authorities slapped their first electronic wrist tag on a person who flouted a home quarantine order, while police said Sunday they were still hunting for a fugitive Chinese woman with symptoms of the disease. 

Also on Sunday, luxury cruise liner SuperStar Virgo returned to Singapore after the ship was disinfected off the city-state's coast, said Lim Lily, a spokeswoman for Star Cruises, the ship's owners. 

Two crew members had been hospitalized for severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. 

Lim said 13 quarantined crew, who had come into contact with the two victims, remained isolated on board while the rest of the 1,300 crew are staying in another area of the ship. 

SARS has killed nine people and sickened 147 in the city-state and authorities here say tough measures are necessary to prevent the illness from spreading. 

In recent days, Singapore has introduced more measures in its battle against the disease. 

One person was issued with a wrist tag, similar to the ankle tag given to prisoners here under home detention, for a "repeated break of quarantine,'' a health ministry statement late Saturday said. 

The identity of the person was not revealed. 

If the person attempts to remove the tag or moves outside a small radius of his home, the tag's monitoring system alerts a central command unit of his whereabouts and the violation. 

Singapore has placed 558 people under home quarantine as of Saturday, and authorities said Web cams will be installed in all their homes to ensure that they don't leave. 

Police said they were still hunting for Li Zhong Ying, a 33-year-old Chinese illegal immigrant, five days after she escaped from a quarantine center where she was kept after showing symptoms of SARS. 

SARS has killed over 100 people and sickened over 2,700 in 20 countries. The illness has no known cure and symptoms include shortness of breath, fever, coughing and body aches. - AP

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