CONTINENTAL SUSPENDS TAIPEI-GUAM FLIGHTS

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HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, May 22) - Continental
Micronesia has decided to suspend flights from Taipei but its decision was made
before Gov. Felix Camacho wrote a letter Tuesday night suggesting Continental
and China Airlines do so to help keep the island free of severe acute
respiratory syndrome.

Wally Dias, Continental staff vice president for sales and
marketing, said the airline decided May 19 to suspend service between Taipei and
Guam beginning Wednesday, in part because of what he called recent setbacks in
controlling the outbreak of SARS in Taiwan.

Weak customer demand was the other reason for the suspension of
Continental's Taipei-Guam service, according to Dias.

China Airlines said it would follow Continental's example and
beginning Friday will suspend its two weekly flights from Taipei through the end
of the month, according to Christopher Liao, general manager of China Airlines'
Guam office.

''We know this is a matter that is serious and we want to handle
this as swiftly as possible,'' he said.

Liao did say measures are in place in Taiwan to screen people
before they board planes.

Body temperatures are taken, survey forms must be filled out to
screen passengers if they've traveled to SARS-infected areas, and passengers are
asked to state the address and a contact at their destinations, said Liao of
some of the measures.

Dias said Continental has agreed to suspend two flights between
Hong Kong and Guam, and those are the May 23 and May 26 flights, to give the
Guam medical community time to address some possible weaknesses in Guam's
readiness in the event a SARS case shows up on island.

Guam has not had a single confirmed case of SARS.

Continental has confidence in the SARS screening process in Hong
Kong, Dias said.

''The Hong Kong government has been very aggressive in attacking
the outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong and they've been transparent in their
efforts,'' according to Dias.

Hong Kong health department officials expect the World Health
Organization to lift its travel advisory for Hong Kong during the next 30 days,
Dias said.

A report by The Associated Press quotes a WHO report as stating
airport screening of passengers for fevers and other SARS symptoms has
drastically reduced the danger of contracting the disease while aboard planes.

Dr. Thomas Shieh, president of the Guam Medical Society,
welcomed the airlines' moves, particularly Continental's suspension of the two
flights from Hong Kong to give the island's medical community time to become
prepared to handle SARS.

''I'm glad Continental did that,'' Shieh said.

The medical society has recommended Guam restrict entry of
people from SARS trouble spots, according to Pacific Daily News files.

Shieh said the medical society will conduct drills, which will
take a lot of work.

''What we want to do here is do mock drills to see how do we
handle it,'' he said. ''From the Guam Medical Society standpoint, (Guam is)
different,'' he said, because the island has only one hospital for civilians.

''If the hospital is quarantined or if a typhoon hits, where
would people go?'' Shieh asked.

May 22, 2003

Pacific Daily News: www.guampdn.com 

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