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Active SARS Cases Decline in Canada, No New Deaths

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TORONTO, June 16 (AFP) - The number of active cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome in Canada fell by six overnight to 48 Monday as provincial officials tried to help boost this city's deflated convention business.

There have been no new SARS-linked deaths reported since June 7, but provincial officials here said one death was still under investigation.

Toronto, Canada's largest city, has been the epicenter of Canada's outbreak, with all 33 deaths occurring in the metropolitan area.

Ontario, the only Canadian province with any active SARS cases, reported Monday 44 active probable cases, down from 50 on Sunday. The number of suspect SARS cases remained steady overnight at four.

Nineteen SARS patients remained in critical condition.

Meanwhile, Ontario announced a five million dollar (3.7 million US) convention fund to lure back convention business which has significantly dropped off since the SARS outbreak began in March.

It is part of a 128 million dollar (95 million US) plan to help boost the tourism and hospitality business here.

Since March, the federal health agency has received reports of 247 probable and 192 suspect cases of SARS in six provinces, but mostly concentrated in Ontario and to a lesser extent British Columbia.

The majority of Canada's 439 cumulative SARS cases have recovered.

The World Health Organization says there have been nearly 800 SARS-related deaths worldwide as well as 8,454 cumulative probable cases in some 30 countries.



COPYRIGHT 2003 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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