NORTHERN MARIANAS LIFTS TRAVEL BAN ON VIETNAM

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SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, May 1) - Following the removal of
the World Health Organization of Vietnam from the list of countries affected by
the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the CNMI government has also taken the
country off its travel warning list.

"The country of Vietnam is no longer considered an area of
high risk, and travel to Vietnam may resume as per usual," Public Health
Secretary James U. Hofschneider said yesterday.

In a memorandum, Hofs-chneider also said that Toronto, Canada
"is on the WHO list but expected to be removed from the list very
soon." Also yesterday, the WHO lifted its travel advisory on Toronto.

Still, Hofschneider said the CNMI government strongly advises
residents to avoid all non-essential travels to other SARS hotspots such as
China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, and Singapore.

"This travel advisory also applies to all travelers
transiting through airports of these affected regions," he added.

Earlier, the CNMI ordered the suspension of issuance of entry
permits to residents from these areas in its goal to prevent the entry of SARS
into the Commonwealth.

The suspension, however, did not cover those with U.S. passports
and U.S. visa traveling from these areas. Hong Kong residents are also not
required to secure prior entry permits to the CNMI.

SARS has so far caused the death of 353 people and infected
5,462 individuals in 26 countries.

May 1, 2003

Saipan Tribune: www.saipantribune.com 

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