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Updated Travel Advice regarding SARS

Updated Travel Advice regarding SARS

The Ministry of Health today updated its travel advice relating to Toronto, in Canada. To keep in line with World Health Organisation recommendations the Ministry now advises that people should consider postponing all non-essential travel to Toronto.

The Ministry continues to be proactive in its travel advice which is three-tiered to better reflect the level of risk in travelling to different areas of the world.

The Ministry has downgraded its travel advice on Hanoi (Vietnam) from level 2 to level 3. The risks of transmission in level 3 are the lowest of the three levels.

All of mainland China and Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region) continue to be Level 1. Level 1 areas have the greatest risk of transmission of SARS and people should postpone non-essential travel to these areas.

Level 2 advice, which applies to Toronto and Singapore, has been slightly changed to recommend that people should consider postponing non-essential travel to these countries. In level 2 areas, the risk of transmission is moderate.

Latest reports to the WHO total 4288 probable cases of SARS and 251 deaths. Mainland China and Hong Kong continue to be the most affected areas.

The Ministry of Health's updated travel advice is as follows:

Level 1. Most Affected Areas

Currently the most affected areas are mainland China and Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region).

Advice for people contemplating travel to the most affected areas (level 1)

People planning elective or non-essential travel to these areas should postpone their travel until further notice.

Advice for people returning from the most affected areas

If, within 10 days of returning from one of the affected areas, you experience: high fever (>38 degrees C) AND one or more respiratory symptoms including cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing AND have one or more of the following: close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with SARS recent history of travel to areas reporting cases of SARS you should seek medical attention and avoid close contact with other people. Please phone your doctor or hospital before visiting.

Level 2. Affected areas

Advice to people contemplating travel to affected areas Level 2

People planning elective or non-essential travel to level 2 areas, which are Singapore and Toronto, in Canada, should consider postponing their travel until further notice.

People planning travel to these areas should be aware that there have been recent SARS cases in these areas and travellers may be at risk of contracting SARS.

People travelling to these areas should observe the following precautions to safeguard their health: · Be well informed about SARS through the Ministry's website and other websites such as Centre for Disease Control and prevention and WHO · Avoid settings where SARS is most likely to be transmitted, for example health care facilities caring for SARS patients; · Pay careful attention to personal hygiene, especially hand washing; · Monitor your health while in the area and for at least 10 days after departure · If you think you have symptoms of SARS follow the guidelines on the above websites

Level 3. Areas which have had limited local spread of SARS cases

These are areas which have had limited local spread of the disease, and § have no evidence of international spread from the area, and § no transmission other than close person-to-person contact.

These are: Taiwan, United States, London (United Kingdom), and Hanoi (Vietnam).

Advice for people contemplating travel to these areas (level 3):

People should have raised awareness when travelling to these areas that there have been SARS cases in the area. They should be make sure they stay up-to-date on the latest information about SARS in the areas they are visiting by checking the Ministry website: and the links to the WHO website and others.

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