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From the August 2003 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 50, No. 8)

Viewpoints

The Impact of SARS

Comment from Beijing, Seoul, Melbourne, Buenos Aires, Athens, Bulawayo, and Taipei

Beijing Science News (Chinese Academy of Sciences biweekly), May 25: As the first epidemic previously unknown to mankind in the 21st century, SARS is a very serious disaster and an external blow impacting economic growth. The SARS crisis is a global public-health crisis as well as a crisis that affects human development. But the SARS crisis is benign, not malignant. It is nonpolitical, not involving subversion of a national power or change in basic core values.
—Hu Angang

Seoul Chosun Ilbo (conservative), June 2: Korea is facing mounting economic difficulties—starting with the SARS crisis. The economy contracted in the first quarter. The economic environment has deteriorated further in the second quarter. The SARS crisis may reduce demand for Korea’s exports. Labor unrest may undermine investor confidence in Korea. North Korea’s saber rattling is further undermining investor sentiment as well as consumer confidence.

Melbourne Business Review Weekly (centrist magazine), June 5-11: SARS is slowly but surely eating into forecast economic growth in Asia....Hence, growth is being pushed down in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Korea in particular. And despite screamer headlines, forecasts for China have barely budged. The simplest comment would be that SARS has wiped half a percentage point off growth for 2003 in Asia (excluding Japan) in recent months, with bigger effects on more developed nations. But that downgrade has not been enough by itself to derail overall Asian growth.

Buenos Aires La Nación (conservative), June 1: SARS is leading to the globalization of the use of protective masks. However, other older and better-known illnesses are still more widespread in the world: AIDS, cholera, TB, Ebola, new forms of flu, hantavirus, and others. These are infectious illnesses that, according to the World Health Organization, have not come to the planet by chance. They are somehow connected with new phenomena like ecological changes...demographic changes...medical activities...industrial causes...and social and economic causes.
—Valeria Shapira

Athens To Vima (liberal weekly), May 11: US$28 billion is probably the amount that SARS will cost the Asian economies, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a top financial organization....The official evaluation of the ADB is that the SARS epidemic will be brought under control within two months. But the financial predictions of the bank are based on the evaluation that the disease will remain uncontrolled for six months.
—Christos Kolivas

Bulawayo The Chronicle (government-owned), May 15: To date no one has come up with a cure for AIDS, and while people are still grappling with trying to study the nature of the virus that causes this disease, another scourge has hit the world, SARS. Medicine is a special area; it means life or death for any nation....No self-respecting nation can pride itself by always referring its sick to neighboring countries for “expert attention.” We need to have the expertise and the modern equipment....As the world faces the AIDS and SARS threats, we hope Zimbabwean scientists and health practitioners will play their role in finding a cure to the two diseases.

Taipei Zihyou Shihbao/Liberty Times (liberal, pro-independence), June 4: Taiwan is highly susceptible to infectious diseases originating in China, where sanitary standards are low. Yet, Taiwanese people easily forget. We must learn our lesson from the SARS outbreak. China’s “one China” and “one country, two systems” policies are lies. It has no regard for the Taiwanese people. In the post-SARS era, we must adjust the lopsided trade relations with China, so that Taiwan can survive in the era of globalization.

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