Asia taking no chances with new China virus as WHO meeting looms

Enhanced screening in place from Taiwan to Singapore as countries trigger responses honed by SARS experience.

Published by Al Jazeera English, Jan. 22, 2020

Singapore was hit hard after an unassuming traveller from Hong Kong brought the SARS virus to the Southeast Asian island in 2003.

The threat caused widespread public panic, prompting school closures and inflicting economic damage to business and tourism. People rushed to buy face masks or remained indoors. Some 238 people were infected and 33 died. The WHO says SARS killed about 800 people globally.

Singapore has close ties with mainland China and Changi Airport is one of the world’s busiest for international traffic. Wuhan is just four and a half hours away on a daily direct flight.

After initially screening only passengers from Wuhan, Singaporean health authorities this week began screening all inbound passengers from China, issuing them health advisory notices. Continue reading …

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