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Letter: SARS Coming Under Control

Date Posted: 2003-06-01

May 26, 2003
The Editor
Japan Update

Dear Editor:

The lifting of the travel advisory against non-essential travel to Hong Kong and Guangdong by the World Health Organization (WHO) on May 23 is a clear indication that both Hong Kong and Guangdong have succeeded in putting the SARS disease under control. In both places, the number of new SARS cases has been either zero or in low single digit for many days now, and the number of recovered patients is growing steadily. Not a single case of SARS has been exported from Hong Kong recently. The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce does understand that many may have doubts about traveling to Hong Kong, but with this endorsement from the WHO that Hong Kong has contained the outbreak of SARS, we want to use this letter to ask business visitors and tourists alike to consider coming back to Hong Kong.

The Chamber wants our future visitors to Hong Kong to know that despite this victory, Hong Kong intends to keep up our infection-control alert and to maintain measures to ensure the good health of all who live and visit here. For example, at all border checkpoints and at the airport, temperature is taken of every incoming or outgoing person. Hong Kong has a transparent system with top-notch medical care, and your readers will find that citizens of Hong Kong are well informed on preventative measures to curb the spread of SARS. We will be vigilant to ensure that you will find Hong Kong even safer and cleaner.

Furthermore, the Chamber hopes that some discriminatory practices against travelers and goods from Hong Kong will be dismantled, since there is no reason-and WHO endorses this view-either to quarantine perfectly healthy travelers who come from Hong Kong or to be suspicious about goods shipped from Hong Kong which scientists say cannot possibly contain any virus.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's strengths as a regional business hub, and its hard-earned reputation for resilience and flexibility, make Hong Kong as important to international business today as it was before the emergence of SARS. It is an excellent location to be a springboard into China. China -and it is beginning to contain its own SARS problem - will continue to be the fastest growing economy in Asia which cannot be ignored by any far-sighted company. And Hong Kong provides business people a comforting and efficient location to do business with China.

Finally, with the WHO travel advisory lifted, the Chamber hopes to see many of you here in Hong Kong soon. Hong Kong business people are all geared up in re-engaging with customers and potential clients. In the next few months, in addition to company travel and dealings, a series of city-wide high profile activities, ranging from trade fairs, mega sales, discount travel packages, large scale international conferences, cultural events, etc. will be organized. You can discover for yourself that Hong Kong, the World City of Asia, remains a magnificent place for you to do business and explore.

Yours sincerely,

Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce

22/F United Centre, 95 Queensway, Hong Kong
Chamber contact person: Heidi LAU, Assistant Manager, International Business
tel: (852) 2823 1202, fax: (852) 2527 9843, email: heidi@chamber.org.hk

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