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Asian Residents ‘Not Safe from SARS’

Posted April. 18, 2003 22:12,   


Fear of SARS, (severe acute respiratory syndrome) has been spreading swiftly in the United States causing severe problems to Asian residents.

Restaurants in Chinatown in New York, California, and Washington where sizable Asian American communities are established are encountering a sharp drop in customers as groundless rumors, which say SARS infectors found in those cities are spreading the illness, reported The New York Times on Thursday. The rumors were found groundless.

A restaurant owner said now only non-Asian customers are coming, not Asian customers. "Asians act in groups and as they worry about SARS, no one is coming."

Much of the fear in Chinatowns across the country is being generated by Chinese immigrants in the U.S. as they get information about SARS from websites in Hong Kong, reported health officials.

In New York City, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had lunch in a Chinese restaurant on Wednesday to calm fears. Michael emphasized that there were only 10 cases in all of New York City and none of them were contacted locally. However, U.S. media noted that it would not be sufficient enough to eradicate the fear of SARS in Chinatown.

The fear of SARS is not only causing tourists to avoid Asia, but is also forcing students who planned to study in Asia, such as Singapore, or China during the summer or autumn to give up their plans or change destinations, reported Reuters.

U.S. businesses have been prohibiting their staff taking business trips to Asian countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam based on the recommendation of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kwan-Hee Hong konihong@donga.com