Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Sunday, June 29, 2003

APEC Members Pledge Continuous Actions Against SARS and Future epidemics

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members pledged here on Saturday common actions to continuously contain the SARS and prevent similar epidemics in the future.


The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members pledged here on Saturday common actions to continuously contain the SARS and prevent similar epidemics in the future.

APEC ministers and high officials in charge of public health met Saturday in Bangkok to "decide on common actions to contain the spread of the SARS, increase future defenses against similar infectious disease outbreaks...and rebuild the confidence of people" in the region, said a statement issued at the end of the APEC Health Ministers' Meeting on SARS.

The document, titled APEC Health Ministers' Statement, asked relevant fora to respond to the APEC Action Plan on SARS, which was adopted by ministers in charge of trade at their meeting on June 2 in northeastern Thailand.

The action plan included short and long term initiatives related to information share, border health screening, minimizing economic loss and developing common standards for the monitoring and reporting of infectious disease.

The APEC members also pledged to provide "complete, accurate and timely" relevant information so as to build public awareness and confidence in and between economies, according to the statement.

As to the measure of screening for international travel, the health ministers agreed to promote common guiding principles that were internationally-recognized, science-based and will "address actual risk factors without stigmatizing portions of the travelingpublic."

Recognizing the adverse impact of the SARS on trade and regional security, the ministers encouraged many regional joint projects and research to find out effective ways to prevent the reoccurring of the SARS and the outbreak of other infectious disease.

The health ministers' meeting closed on Saturday afternoon was the first of its kind in APEC history. Representatives from 21 APEC member economies participated in the meeting.

Some 8,000 people around the world have contracted the disease since the outbreak of the SARS, which has killed 809 people, according to the report of the World Health Organization.

The regional economic growth rate will fall down by 0.3 percentto 0.5 percent due to the influence of the SARS, according to a report delivered by the APEC Secretariat on the APEC senior officials' special meeting held on Friday.

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