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Further updated travel advice regarding SARS

Further updated travel advice regarding SARS

The Ministry of Health's travel advice has been updated today to reflect the latest international information on SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome).

Toronto in Canada is being removed from the Ministry's travel advice as it has reported no new cases of SARS for more than 20 days. Mongolia has also been removed.

Singapore is being downgraded from level two to level three risk; level three is the lowest level of risk and includes countries which have had limited recent local spread of SARS. The Philippines is being added to level three as it has reported 12 SARS cases, and has limited local transmission.

China, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region) and Taiwan remain level one countries. Level one is considered the highest level of risk.

Total numbers of cases worldwide reported to the WHO are 7699 and 598 deaths.

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

The Ministry also reminds people to regularly monitor its website: www.moh.govt.nz/sars for up-to-date information on SARS. The website has been updated today to include new WHO guidance for countries hosting mass gathering events; guidance that reinforces the Ministry's advice to date.

The Ministry's updated travel advice is as follows:

Level 1. Most Affected Areas

Currently these are mainland China, Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region) and Taiwan.

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

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

Level 2. Affected Areas

There are currently no countries at level two.

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

These are areas which have had limited recent local spread of SARS. Currently these are the Philippines and Singapore.

Advice for people contemplating travel to these areas (level three)

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

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