TRAVEL WARNING, NO BAN, TO SARS-INFECTED COUNTRIES

Manila, March 30, 2003 -- President Arroyo yesterday said no travel ban 
would be imposed on travelers to Singapore, Hong Kong and China, but she 
advised Filipinos to refrain from taking a trip to those countries if that 
can be avoided at the moment.

The National Epidemiology Center of the Health Department has also urged 
Filipinos to postpone any plans to Guandong and Hong Kong in China, Hanoi 
in Vietnam and Singapore to avoid contacting the deadly Severe Acute 
Respiratory Syndrome or SARS.

Arroyo said quarantine authorities in those countries have tightened 
precautionary measures against the mysterious disease.

Arroyo also said it would be up to the congressmen and media persons who 
attended the Philippine Solo Exhibition in Shanghai, China if they would 
submit to quarantine on their return here.

Speaker Jose de Venecia, leader of the Philippine delegation, has agreed to 
be quarantined for one week.

Dayrit said a Filipina domestic helper from Singapore with symptoms of a 
respiratory ailment was taken to the San Lazaro Hospital yesterday for a 
checkup to determine whether she had been affected with SARS.

Dayrit told the President in a teleconference the 41-year-old woman who 
arrived yesterday and whom he only identified as F.C., appeared not to have 
had any contact with SARS-affected individuals but she was immediately 
confined to the hospital for tests.

Singapore is one of the Asian countries, which has recorded one of the 
highest incidence of SARS cases in the previous weeks. So far 54 patients, 
mostly from Asia, have been killed by SARS, while 1,300 others are infected 
all over the world.

Dayrit also said he was informed by Consul General Victoria Bataclan that 
the remains of Adela Dalingay, another Filipina househelper who died of 
SARS in Hong Kong, was cremated yesterday afternoon. Dalingay's ashes would 
be brought back home on Tuesday by her parents.

Dayrit has not received any confirmation that a patient confined on the 7th 
floor of the Makati Medical Center has SARS.  (By REGINA BENGCO, Malaya)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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