SARS: LAOAG AIRPORT WORKERS WORRIED

Laoag City, April 7, 2003  Airport personnel here and employees of offices 
in the airport premises are increasingly getting worried about the SARS 
(Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus.

Their apprehension is not without basis. Most international flights 
arriving at the Laoag International Airport come from Hong Kong, China and 
Singapore, where SARS cases have been reported.

There are direct flights at least thrice a week to Laoag.

Although there has reportedly been a 50 percent drop in tourist arrivals, 
the number of visitors still averages 600 weekly.

"When a plane arrives, I worry about the wind bringing in the SARS virus," 
quipped Cynthia Iglesias, local chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, 
Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said. The weather 
bureau's office is in the airport complex.

SARS jitters heightened last Friday afternoon when at least 15 visitors 
from Guangdong, China landed at the Laoag airport. The virus was first 
traced in the Chinese province.

But the airport's quarantine officers eventually cleared the Guangdong 
visitors of any SARS symptoms, Bombo Radyo Laoag station manager Tony 
Cabrera told The STAR. (Teddy Molina)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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