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SARS Update: Temporary Travel Restriction Imposed by Malaysia on Hong Kong Residents

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    SARS Update: Temporary Travel Restriction Imposed by Malaysia on Hong Kong Residents

    Temporary Travel Restriction Imposed by Malaysia on Hong Kong Residents
    *************************************************



    A spokesman for the Immigration Department confirmed this afternoon (April 9) that the Department had received earlier today notification from the Malaysian authorities that, in order to contain the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), temporary visa restrictions were imposed on travellers from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) with effect from April 8.


    It was understood that similar travel restrictions were also imposed on other countries and regions like Canada, Vietnam, Mainland China and Taiwan.


    Under the measure, there will be a temporary freeze on all issuance of visas to Hong Kong residents and "Visa on Arrival" for all purposes. However, the following individuals, with a medical record proving that they are free from the SARS, are exempt from this measure:


    (i) Hong Kong government officials travelling to Malaysia for an official visit; and


    (ii) Businessmen travelling to Malaysia on a business trip or with investment in Malaysia.


    "The Malaysian authorities stressed that this measure would only be a temporary one and promised to lift the restrictions as soon as the SARS outbreak was under control," the spokesman said.


    "The Director of Immigration met the Consul-General of Malaysia this afternoon and expressed deep concern about the measure. He urged the Malaysian authorities to urgently reconsider their decision."


    Previously, holders of Hong Kong SAR passports enjoyed a 30-day visa-free access to Malaysia.


    "We regret deeply the decision of the Malaysian Government, which had been taken without prior consultation. We do not think the decision is justified, and it ignores the essential need for people all over the world to stay in touch with one another in an increasingly globalized world," said the spokesman.


    "The travel restrictions will severely impede trade, tourism and cultural exchange. In 2002, more than 340 000 Malaysian visitors came to Hong Kong and nearly 200 000 Hong Kong residents visited Malaysia. The total trade between Hong Kong and Malaysia amounted to HK$55 billion."


    "We consider that the proper ways to stop the spread of the virus are, among other things, to enhance international communications and cooperation on the matter and strengthen public awareness on the disease. Hong Kong has already taken a series of effective measures to contain the spread of SARS."


    End/Wednesday, April 9, 2003



    Department of Health
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

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    Travel restrictions to be suspended

    Travel restrictions to be suspended
    ***********************************



    The Government has just received a written notification from the Malaysian Consulate that the travel restrictions recently imposed on Hong Kong residents are to be suspended temporarily and that holders of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports and British National Overseas passports arriving in Malaysia will be subject to appropriate medical screening.


    Welcoming the lifting of restrictions, a Government spokesman today (April 12) reiterated that Hong Kong had put in place effective measures to control the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, including introducing home confinement measures for those who have close contacts with infected patients and barring them from leaving the territory during the confinement period.


    End/Saturday, April 12, 2003

    DH
    Founder of GeoBaby.Com

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