By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: Where can I get more info on SARS for Canadian travellers? I'm a student who has applied to study in Hong Kong. If I get accepted, I'll be travelling there.

A: Health Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) recommend that Canadians defer travel until further notice to the City of Hanoi, Vietnam; the People's Republic of China including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; Singapore; and Taiwan because of recent increases in cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in these areas. "This advice is due to the mounting concern about transmission of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) agent in non-hospital and community settings in these areas," reports the DFAIT's Travel Advisory newsletter and adds, "Health Canada and DFAIT also recommend alternate routing be considered, when possible, if a traveller is transiting through the People's Republic of China including Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; City of Hanoi, Vietnam; Singapore; or Taiwan.

Health Canada is aware that health authorities in these areas are making concerted efforts to contain the spread of SARS in their populations. Given the uncertainties of the current situation, Health Canada and DFAIT believe it is prudent to await the outcome of national and international control measures before undertaking travel to these destinations." You can subscribe and receive free travel updates from DFAIT's web site at

Other sources include Health Canada's Travel Medicine Web site at which has the latest information on SARS for Canadian travellers. You may also wish to consult the World Health Organization Web site, or call Health Canada's toll-free hotline at 1 800 454-8302 (in Canada only). In Ontario, you can visit the Ministry of Health and Long Term web site at or call the general inquiry number at 1-888-668-4636.


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