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Commercial Times: From SARS to MERS -- Learn from past experience

Commercial Times: From SARS to MERS -- Learn from past experience

As of June 24, confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in South Korea had reached 179, with 27 deaths.
Although no community infections have occurred in South Korea so far, and the World Health Organization has not listed South Korea as a travel alert area, Taiwan must not take the situation lightly, given the close interaction between the two countries.
In particular, there has been one confirmed case in Thailand, also originating from the Middle East. As the world has become a global village, and two Asian countries have been affected, Taiwan must heighten its alert, although it should not panic, even though MERS is more difficult to bring under control than severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which struck Taiwan in 2003.
In 2003, SARS spread rapidly from China to Hong Kong and further to Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan and Canada.
During the SARS outbreak, Taiwan's tourism and restaurant industries were extremely sluggish, and domestic demand also suffered a sudden slowdown. As a result, Taiwan's GDP growth for 2003 dropped to 4.12 percent from 5.57 percent the previous year.
To prevent MERS from spreading to Taiwan, the government should install more infrared temperature sensors at airports, seaports and even fishing ports.
Such sensors should also be made available at the venues of large-size conferences, major railway stations, and any other places where people converge.
Lastly, anyone displaying symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing after coming into contact with foreigners or participating in international conferences should seek medical attention immediately and tell their doctors about their contact history. (Editorial abstract -- June 25, 2015) (By Y.F. Low)


Updated : 2020-12-06 07:22 GMT+08:00