Concerning the recent outbreak of SARS in Asia, especially in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province of China, WHO has issued warning to travelers against going to China. I saw the questions like this in the message boards of this site: “I have booked my tickets to Shanghai in this May. Shall I cancel my trip to Shanghai? Do you have any advice?”
To cancel or not to cancel, it is a question
Well. It is not an easy question to answer. If you ask about my advice, I will tell you two facts about Shanghai. The first is, you won’t feel the fear in Shanghai now. The life is going on and shops still opens. Schools are not closed and seldom can you see people wearing facial masks. It is a city of 16 million people. The official one case of SARS is relatively a smaller number (although I do think there are some cases not counted in the official report). So you don’t have to worry about going to Shanghai. The second fact is, like traveling to any area of the world now, the SARS is there and you have the risk to get infected when you set your foot to a SARS infected area. The risks of SARS, I believe, are not very high – at least not higher than other infectious disease.
My personal suggestion: Go ahead to Shanghai
I am living in this city. Millions of foreigners are also living in this city (3% of the population). It is not the worst of time to come to this city. The only factor to consider is the concerns of the people around you in your country about your trip after your return – people in your neighborhood may think you are dangerous – actually you are not if you don’t see the symptoms on you.
Shanghai is still beautiful and nice – like many people have experienced. There are certainly some risks there – this is for sure. But I don’t think it has to prevent you from coming this city.
When I talked with my friends in Shanghai today asking their suggestions for whether a foreigner should come to Shanghai or cancel the trip. Their answer is positive. They suggest to come but do some precautions – don’t go to public places and stay away from any one who coughs.
Public oppinions from CNN is negitive about the travel
Just checked CNN’s quick vote on the topic.
Would the warning from the World Health Organization make you change your travel plans to Hong Kong or China?
92% choosed YES
8% choosed NO
It is reasonable.
If you ask me “Will you cancel your trip to Iraq?” (if I did planned the trip), my answer is definitely NO, because of the war. But the fact is, not all areas of Iraq is affected by the war. There are some villages that are not important that either Iraqi or U.S. army will pay attention to. They are relatively safe – Shall I say that?
So before you make decision, just consider China is large, much larger than any other south Asia country. The outbreak of one province or city, as shown on TV or website, may not neccessarily be regarded as the situation of the entire country.
Negitive reasons for not to go
Meanwhile, please get aware of the following factors when you come to Shanghai.
1) The official information may not be the actual number. This can be seen via the conflicts of numbers. So do keep alerted no matter what the public is saying.
2) The SARS is highly infectious. The situation now is OK, but who knows about tomorrow. A large scale breakout troughout the city or country is still possible. At that time, it may not be easy to get back to where you come. The flights may be either cancelled or policy (of China or your country) prohibit you from going back if the situation become worse.
The decision is yours.
To my readers,
No matter you cancel or continue your trip, may God be with you and may you be safe and happy.