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Ministry cautions against travel to SARS-hit areas

posted on 03/04/2003: 1376 views


Travel from the UAE to regions stricken by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), an atypical pneumonia, is being discouraged by officials of the UAE Ministry of Health. Each day the ministry receives calls from anxious people planning to travel to South-East Asia, for business or pleasure.



Dr Juma Bilal Fairuz, Director of the Department of Disease Control, told "Khaleej Times" that airlines flying from affected regions were advised to inform their passengers to present themselves to the nearest public health clinic or hospital in the event they should experience certain symptoms indicative of SARS. People coming to the UAE from South-East Asia are advised to be alert for symptoms like high fever and difficulty in breathing that may indicate they have caught the infection.



The UAE has been declared SARS -free by the ministry He stressed that although over 1,500 cases of SARS had been reported worldwide, only 78 deaths had so far taken place, which meant that only 0.5 per cent of those infected had succumbed to the infection. He pointed out that most of the infected people had recovered, but this aspect had not been stressed by the media.



The ministry has placed no restrictions on travellers coming from countries where SARS cases have been found. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports the disease has so far affected Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. (The Khaleej Times)

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