MARSHALLS BAN TRAVELERS FROM ASIA AND CANADA

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 17) - The Marshall Islands
has banned entry by any travelers coming from four Asian nations and Canada, in
an effort to block the SARS respiratory illness from getting into the island
country.

According to immigration officials, after the ban had been
issued two Chinese nationals, who arrived in Majuro on Air Kiribati from Fiji,
were refused entry and were returned on the same plane to Kiribati.

The Marshall’s Justice Minister, Witten Philippo signed the
emergency health regulation in response to the outbreak of SARS –Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome.

The order bans visitors coming to the Marshall Islands from
Guandong and Shanxi Provinces and Hong Kong in China, as well as Singapore,
Vietnam and Toronto in Canada.

The order notifies all Marshall Islands embassies to cease
issuing visas to individuals from these countries.

To date there have been no suspected or confirmed cases of SARS
in the Marshall Islands. There have been more than 160 deaths and 3,000 cases of
SARS worldwide as the mysterious disease continues to spread. The disease is
thought to have originated in China and has resulted in scores of deaths in Hong
Kong.

April 18, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com 

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