12 Apr 2003

New Caledonia eases SARS restrictions

9:24 am on 12 April 2003

New Caledonia has eased restrictions imposed at the beginning of this month to ward off the SARS diseease.

The government has dropped its requirement for people from SARS risk zones to spend ten days in self-imposed quarantine even if they show no symptoms of the disease.

The territory's president, Pierre Frogier, says to uphold such an order there has to be a law and no such law exists anywhere.

He says while it is possible to confine people to their homes one cannot limit visitors to those who show no symptoms of SARS.

A nurse is at the international airport in Tontouta to question all passengers who travelled from or through so-called at risk countries.

Last weekend, a US tourist was briefly taken to a hospital in Noumea but tests showed no signs of SARS.