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US advises against Taiwan travel

SARS fears

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The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially recommended that travellers steer clear of Taiwan because of concerns over the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The CDC is now advising "people planning elective or non-essential travel to Taiwan may wish to postpone their trips until further notice". It said it is issuing this advice as a result of the "magnitude and scope of the evolving outbreak, including a rapid increase in suspected and probable cases without apparent epidemiologic links, raising concern about community transmission".

Taiwan has recorded 95 SARS cases to date, three of which have proved fatal, though up to 200 people may have been infected. Yesterday, Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian called the outbreak "a national security issue," according to a Reuters report. Today, Taiwan's parliament approved a $1.4 billion special fund to combat the disease. As yet the economic impact of the disease and the uncertainty surrounding has not been calculated.

Earlier this week, the Taipei Computer Association announced it had postponed this year's Computex show, originally due to be held on 2-6 June in Taipei. Computex is the region's largest computer show.

Taiwan itself is home to many of the world's key computer manufacturers, producing PCs, notebooks and peripherals for the world's best-known brands. ®

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