WHO drops Taiwan from SARs list

Under control

The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday dropped Taiwan from its list of SARS-affected countries. This is welcome news for the world's IT hardware vendors, which depend upon Taiwan for their components. A string of companies, most recently AMD, blamed the impact of SARS on lower sales.

Such an explanation for poor performance will not hold water for much longer then. The impact of SARS upon business confidence, air travel, physical distribution etc. has been completely out of kilter with the physical danger of SARS.

Admittedly, the disease - Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - is extraordinarily easy to catch, and it's very easy to die if you get caught. And yet, SARS has killed just 800 people, mostly in east Asia, with outcrops in Canada, since cutting loose in Guandong, China last year.

Of course this may be a tribute to the SARs containment policies of the WHO. The UN agency thinks the disease is at last under control, for the first time since it escaped from China, by way of international air travellers in mid-February. The last new case of SARS was recorded in Taiwan on June 15. So fingers crossed. ®

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