Fri, May 09, 2003 - Page 3 News List

More countries add Taiwan to list

PARIAH DESTINATION Both Germany and Colombia have issued warnings for their citizens that say traveling to Taiwan could jeopardize their health

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Germany and Colombia have joined 22 countries to issue travel warnings to their nationals regarding trips to Taiwan in light of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

The ministry put the 24 countries into three categories depending on the level of the travel advisories issued to their citizens.

Six countries have advised their citizens not to travel to Taiwan for any reason, the ministry said.

Another nine countries have advised their nationals to postpone their trips to Taipei, the ministry said.

The third category included another nine countries that have advised their nationals to postpone non-essential trips to Taiwan, the ministry said.

The German Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 2 recommended that German nationals to refrain from any unnecessary journeys to Taiwan in view of the SARS outbreak, according to the ministry's Web site.

According to the Canadian government's travel health advisory last Friday, Health Canada continues to recommend that Canadians planning to travel here or China should defer all travel until further notice.

"Health Canada recommends alternate routing be considered, when possible, if a traveler is transiting through the People's Republic of China or Taiwan," the announcement said.

According to the travel advisory issued by the Singaporean ministry of health on Wednesday, Singaporean nationals were advised to "avoid travel to other SARS affected areas -- Taiwan, Toronto and Mongolia, unless absolutely necessary."

But according to the Central News Agency (CNA) report from Tokyo yesterday, Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday night upgraded its travel warning to Japanese nationals regarding journeys to Taiwan.

Japan has four travel warning categories: take cautious measures while traveling, defer unnecessary travels, defer all travel and evacuate from the region, according to the ministry's Web site.

Japan in early April advised its nationals to be cautious during their trips to Taiwan, while the latest travel advisory recommended that Japanese nationals reconsider the necessity of traveling to Taipei, the CNA report from Tokyo said.

Meanwhile, Lee Chen-hsiung (李辰雄), director-general of the ministry's department of African affairs, said the government will continue negotiating with Mauritius over the possibility of lifting the suspension of issuing visas to Taiwanese nationals in the wake of the SARS outbreak.

Some Taiwanese fishing boats, which have been active in the Indian Ocean next to Mauritius, have found their lives severely affected by the country's visa ban policy, Lee said.

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