23 May 2003

Marshall Islands bans travelers from Taiwan and Philippines

3:43 pm on 23 May 2003

The Marshall Islands has put Taiwan and the Philippines on its travel ban list in an effort to prevent the SARS epidemic from spreading to the central pacific nation.

The Government signed a revised emergency regulation adding these countries plus Singapore and more Chinese provinces to the list.

The inclusion of Taiwan and the Philippines in the ban is expected to have a significant economic impact on the country.

The Philippines is one of the major sources of skilled labour for the construction industry and retail businesses.

And since the Marshall Islands and Taiwan established diplomatic ties in 1998, the local Taiwanese business community and the number of visitors to the Marshall Islands have increased in number.

Meanwhile, two countries - Vietnam and Canada - where the illness has been contained, have been taken off the travel ban list which was first issued in mid-April.

Travellers from those areas on the list can still be allowed in if they obtain advance approval.