The economic impact of SARS might be more critical than the emergency generated by the Asian financial crisis of 1997, head of the nation's top think tank said yesterday at the Legislative Yuan, citing a report.
Academia Sinica president Lee Yuan-tseh (李遠哲) told lawmakers that researchers at the Institute of Economics have been working on a series of projects related to the effects of the disease outbreak on Taiwan's economy and people's social behavior.
Lee said a report conducted by these researchers shows the magnitude and the speed of the effect on Taiwan's economic activities since the SARS outbreak early last month are higher than those of the Asian financial crisis, the Sept. 21 earthquake in 1999 and the two international oil crises in the late 60s and early 70s.
The report gives a detailed analysis of Taiwan's economic growth, the structure of the job market and the manufacturing industries.
The report also analyses the interdependence of the economies on either side of the Taiwan Strait, the impact of globalization, and the nation's medical services, according to Lee.
To get a better understanding of how the disease is spreading and of the effectiveness of the government's preventive measures, researchers of the institute's "Geographic Information System" project are integrating related reports from the Taipei City Government and the Center for Disease Control, Lee said.
He added that all life science-related departments of the institution are working on projects related to SARS.
The research includes methods of detecting the disease, research on infection paths and the development of vaccines and a possible cure.