Hundreds of Beijing hospital workers have left their jobs for fear they could catch severe acute respiratory syndrome from infected patients. Nearly 2,000 people in the capital have been diagnosed with the disease; another 16,000 are under quarantine. Not even exorbitant pay increases can persuade nurses to stay. At the Xiong Ke hospital, officials raised the average salary from $50 a month to $500, but still faced a shortage of 100 employees. To boost morale among nurses, the government is rushing production on a film to star Gong Li, China’s most famous actress, as a beautiful head nurse who bravely leads her staff into the SARS wards.
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