18 Mar 2003

Fiji concerned about SARS

10:35 am on 18 March 2003

Representatives of Fiji's tourism industry will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to determine the seriousness of a mystery illness which has killed nine people worldwide and is deemed to present a threat to Fiji.

The Daily Post says the meeting of the Fiji Visitors Bureau, Air Pacific and the Fiji Hotel Association will be the first attempt by local authorities to combat the effects of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

The disease, which causes victims to suffer symptoms such as coughing, high fever and shortness of breath, has already killed nine people in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Canada.

The World Health Organisation has sent out a global health alert.

The president of the Fiji Hotel Association, Olivia Pareti, says the virus is a major concern because Asians comprise a large number of tourists and the stakeholders meeting would consider its seriousness and possible effects on travellers in Fiji.