PALAU WON’T CLOSE DOORS ON SARS "HOT SPOTS"

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PALAU WON’T CLOSE DOORS ON SARS "HOT SPOTS"

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, April 30) — Palau will not close
its borders to visitors from high-risk SARS areas.

Dr. Caleb Otto, Palau’s public health director, said the
country has already implemented measures to prevent the entry of SARS.

Michael O’Leary, a physician from the Centers for Disease
Control, has said that closing borders is not the most important prevention and
control strategy, according to Otto.

He said President Tommy Remengesau, lawmakers and doctors have
discussed the issue and agreed that imposing a travel ban on the entry of people
from high-risk areas "is not the best thing to do at this time."

Although the people’s health is more important than economic
benefits, it is not necessary to close the borders as the government continues
to conduct "strict surveillance," Otto said.

Airlines, hotels and tour operators are cooperating with the
government’s efforts against SARS, he added.

Hotels and tour operators have been asked to re-schedule
bookings of tourists coming from the affected areas.

Earlier, the Ministry of Health proposed that hotels and dive
tours request health certificates from visitors coming from the affected areas.

Otto said the public now has a better understanding of the
disease even as the ministry continues to urge the people not to travel to SARS
"hotspots" — China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and Toronto,
Canada.

Health officials will continue to monitor the airport and
seaport, and all visitors will be checked prior to their entry, Otto said.

April 30, 2003

Story via Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com 

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