View Full Version : SARS the "threat"

1st Apr 2003, 12:56
It only takes an instant to catch a virus. Kinda like the clap.

1st Apr 2003, 15:04
Jang Newspapers

Asian airlines reel
as deadly virus spreads

HONG KONG: Asian airlines announced cutbacks to services Monday and their shares dived as fearful travellers cancelled bookings due to the rapid spread of a deadly virus.

US authorities have warned Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) could be more contagious than first thought and with other countries have advised against travel to parts of Asia.

The illness has now infected more than 1,600 people in 15 countries and killed more than 60 people.

It erupted in southern China, spread to Hong Kong and has been dispersed worldwide by airline passengers.

The scramble by airlines to cut back services -- which were already hurting from the US war in Iraq -- gathered pace Monday with Hong Kong routes bearing the brunt.

Hong Kong is at the centre of the virus outbreak, which first appeared in the neighbouring Chinese province of Guangdong.

Hong Kong authorities on Monday isolated an entire housing block for 10 days in an attempt to control the epidemic after 185 people on the estate were found to be infected -- a rise of 64 overnight.

Cathay Pacific Airways announced a temporary reduction of flights to eight destinations within the region from mid-April until May 31 in response to a fall in demand prompted by the virus outbreak, which has killed 15 in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong-based Dragonair has cancelled 11 flights to China and Taiwan because of a drop in bookings, a spokeswoman said.

Asia's top carrier Japan Airlines (JAL) said Monday that 10,000 passengers cancelled bookings for international flights in March because of the war in Iraq and the virus.

"The Iraq factor is probably larger, but SARS appears to spread more easily than was thought," said JAL spokesman Hirohide Ishikawa. "We have to watch whether the impact will get bigger." Australian aviation experts warned the airline industry is nearing a "worst-case scenario" due to the double blow of war and disease.

"Recent service cutbacks are already more severe than occurred in the 1991 Gulf War on the back of what already is a distressed industry," the report said.

The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation said traffic within Asia had been relatively lightly affected by the Iraq conflict but the outbreak of SARS posed a real threat to traveler confidence in some markets.

Australian flag carrier Qantas is among a string of regional airlines hit by the virus, announcing last Friday that it would not meet this year's profit targets as passengers delay bookings.

Air New Zealand said it would cancel 3.3 per cent of its overseas flights in response to a five per cent to 10 per cent drop in bookings.

Between May 12 and June 30, Air New Zealand will cut its Auckland to Hong Kong flights on Mondays.

Thai Airways said Monday it is also temporarily suspending some flights to Hong Kong and other cities affected by the virus. Flights to Hong Kong were being reduced from seven to four a day, a spokeswoman said.

Korean Air, the larger of South Korea's two air carriers, said bookings for April travel were 10 per cent down from the same time last year, with Southeast Asian routes falling 17 per cent.

Korea's second carrier, Asiana Airlines, said its bookings were down five per cent in March from a year ago.

Philippine Airlines said it was unlikely to achieve net profit target for the current financial year due to the war and the virus.

"We were looking at one billion pesos, but with all these things going on, we don't expect to hit (the target)," PAL spokesman Rolando Estabillo told AFP.

The share prices of Asian airlines continued to plunge Monday as the virus crisis intensified.

In Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific fell 6.9 per cent and other tourism-related stocks were also battered.

"There is no bottom line for the dive," Prudential Brokerage senior investment manager Kingston Lin warned.

Singapore Airlines fell 3.3 per cent, its lowest level in nearly 17 months and Korean Air declined 7.3 per cent.

In Taiwan China Airlines and EVA Airways fell by their daily limit of seven per cent.

Malaysia Airlines retreated 6.7 per cent and Qantas fell one per cent following a 9.6 per cent slump on Friday.

Kaptin M
1st Apr 2003, 15:58
Turn those recirculation fans OFF!!

1st Apr 2003, 16:35
Maybe, maybe not. More fresh air would obviously be good but here is an interesting link about aircraft aircon :

How Aircraft Aircon works and what it can and can't do. From Boeing .... (http://www.boeing.com/commercial/cabinair/ecs.pdf)


Eastwest Loco
1st Apr 2003, 18:19
Korean Air also appears to be dropping frequency - had cancellations with no alternate flights offered come through today on booking Busan HKG.


1st Apr 2003, 18:58
But, are the Virgin pilots still trotting off to HK for their sim details? Anyone there care to enlighten us? Anybody...? ;)

2nd Apr 2003, 07:00
ABC News Online:

Print Email
Posted: Wed, 2 Apr 2003 6:16 AEST

Mystery virus worries flight staff

Australian flight attendants have expressed concerns about their personal safety as the death toll climbs from the mysterious severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Pilots are now required to seek quarantine clearance before they land in Australia by declaring whether there are any unwell people aboard the plane who may need to be examined.

The Flight Attendants Association met Qantas representatives yesterday and will today release a statement to its members on what measures are being put in place to protect them from SARS.

Flight Attendants Association spokesman Wayne Cooper says it is understandable that some flight attendants are concerned.

"We have a number of members that obviously are quite concerned about this in relation to media reports regarding the virus," she said.

"But that's why we're addressing the issue to the members and to also allay the fears of the public."

2nd Apr 2003, 07:16
Is anyone able to say how many people die each year from the flu in Australia. If 60 people have died from SARS and 1600 have been infected that is only a 4% mortality rate. Chances are you are more likely to die from other diseases than this one.

Kaptin M
2nd Apr 2003, 11:01
The 60 are only the KNOWN ones to date, PFO - who knows how many have succumbed in China from it to date.

Anyway...seems as though the WHO is a tad more concerned than you. It appears to be reaching epedemic levels rapidly, in some countries.

I wonder what liabilities companies who send their employees to known infected areas, eg. H.K., face, in the event an employee contracts it?

Freek Flyer
2nd Apr 2003, 11:40
Don't beleive the Hype

It is spread by droplet only. Meaning that casual contact with a person with the disease puts you at no significant risk. But if that person were to cough or sneeze all over you then you would be at risk. It can only travel as far as the droplet travels so airconditioners in hotels AIRCRAFT etc are not risky, although I wouldn't want to be sitting in sneezing range, luckily up the pointy end theres no risk of that! I'm off to Honka's on friday, I'm not too worried about it and neither should the rest of the travelling public, it just seems like that everyone in the world is so scared of everything these days, this is'nt the first disease of this kind and it surely wont be the last, everyone needs to stop worrying about things that MIGHT happen and get on with there lives!!

Just my two sense worth,

Cheers All

2nd Apr 2003, 11:54
If you think SARS is a problem wait for the sudden illness caused by the Australian Tax Offices new investigation into VB pilot's tax returns.:mad:

2nd Apr 2003, 15:22
From Voice of America

"The sharp jump in the number of cases at the Hong Kong residential high-rise has raised fears that the virus may be airborne and not spread by sneezing, coughing or close contact, as health experts have assumed. Hong Kong's health minister said officials also are investigating whether the ailment is moving through sewage systems, after traces of the virus were found in human waste samples from patients at the apartment complex."

2nd Apr 2003, 15:52
Freeky Flier (what a great handle).

Since you are a microbiologist - and better qualified than everyone else in the world at that (since here is no consensus on the airbourne vector yet), I am relieved by your post.

I can now make my trips without worry of infection by the hawking, gobbing masses that come out of the infection centers of this disease.

I am relieved that I do not have to worry about the spitting and coughing that goes on all around me everyday and the fact that a chinese handkerchief is rarer than a Egyptian transistor. Or that the gobs of slime on every horizontal surface are not a worry.

Terry Nation wrote a play that aired on British TV series in the 70's called the "Survivors". The first episode rings so true to just now - I only hope that the rest doesn't happen.


2nd Apr 2003, 16:00

Qantas considers bug travel advice
April 02, 2003

QANTAS was today considering the implications of upgraded travel advice from the federal government in the wake of Australia's first confirmed case of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Qantas has already cut back flights to Asia as a result of the deadly virus that is spreading around the world from there.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade last night strongly advised travellers to Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Vietnam to defer non-essential trips due to the virus.

Qantas last week announced it had reduced planned international flying by up to 20 per cent between April 1 and mid-July in response to the US invasion of Iraq and the deadly pneumonia-like SARS.

The illness has killed up to 75 people worldwide, including 43 in mainland China and 16 in Hong Kong.

The disease originated in China's Guangdong province, sparking an international health alert. There are now more than 2,000 confirmed infections worldwide. Among the Qantas changes announced last Friday were suspension of the airline's twice-weekly Brisbane-Hong Kong services, and suspension of four Sydney-Hong Kong services each week reducing services from 30 to 24 per week.

A spokeswoman for the airline said a meeting today was expected to reassess services following the government's new travel warning.

She also confirmed Qantas representatives met with members of the Flight Attendants Association of Australia (FAAA) yesterday to address concerns about the personal safety of members.

"We did meet with the FAAA yesterday," she said.

"We have been providing information to our staff all along (and) they obviously were seeking some information about what we were doing to provide information."

The FAAA was expected to release a statement to its members today outlining the measures being put in place to protect them from SARS.


Pole Vaulter
2nd Apr 2003, 16:39
Freek Flyer,

I suggest you read through Kaptin M post as what he has quoted is mainly what the WHO considers the risks are. If you think you know more then the WHO about the spread of this disease I suggest you give your info to the authorities and save more people from this disease.
Just remember FF and I Quote"even touching a contaminated elevator button will spead this virus"
Best of luck in HKG

fire wall
2nd Apr 2003, 20:17
Gentlemen, lets put this in perspective. 1400 people die every year as a result of flu related illnesses in British Colombia alone.....and this virus has claimed 60 odd worldwide? Stop reading the media hysteria and think for yourselves......yes this a problem but can be overcome with some sensible precautions.
I am in Hong Kong and have been for the last 2 weeks operating from here.
Freek ....I am not so sure you are correct.....no evidence just a gut feeling as this does not explain the outbreak in a specific high rise in HK.

2nd Apr 2003, 20:27
Before you decide to turn off the recirc fans, you might like to review this very comprehensive Boeing report on the 767 ECS system operation. The same applies to the 744 and could possibly by now, be superior to this report. I am not familiar with the Airbus ECS concept but would expect it to be at least of equal quality.


2nd Apr 2003, 23:37
Thurs "Sydney Morning Herald"

Travellers told to avoid five destinations as SARS spreads
By Michael Bradley and Ben Wyld
April 3 2003

Australians have been told to avoid travelling to five destinations affected by the severe acute respiratory syndrome and warned those using airports in these places should wear face masks.

The recommendations apply to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and Canada.

The updated travel advisory, issued by the Department of Trade and Foreign Affairs, led the Insurance Council of Australia to warn the level of cover would be reduced for travel in those places.

QBE and American International Group said medical cover would no longer be offered and
Royal & SunAlliance said it would not issue travel insurance for these countries.

Three people are under investigation in Australia for SARS, which has killed at least 75 people and infected more than 2000.

Even then, a World Health Organisation official, epidemiologist Robert Breiman, who is a member of the WHO team in China, said yesterday he did not think SARS had peaked internationally.

In Darwin, a 25-year-old man is being treated in hospital having been admitted yesterday with a high fever and cough. He had recently travelled to Singapore and is being treated in an isolation ward.

Twenty-three students and two teachers from a Queensland private school who returned to Australia from Hong Kong yesterday are to be kept out of class. The students, all members of The Southport School under-14 rugby team, had been competing in a rugby tournament.

DFAT said people transiting through airports in the five countries listed were at very low risk, but added that "it would be prudent, while in transit, to avoid close contact with persons who are unwell" and that "a simple surgical face mask and regular hand washing will offer added protection".

Qantas, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines yesterday announced they would waive all airline-related charges for customers wanting to change travel plans.

Sydney Airport has also adopted tighter disease surveillance measures. Pilots now have to seek quarantine clearance before landing by declaring whether any unwell people are onboard.

In overseas developments on SARS yesterday:

· A critically ill Singapore woman has shown a slight improvement after she was treated with serum taken from the blood of a recovered patient.
· Indonesia's Government promised to rush in new laws to give it more power to control the spread of infectious diseases after disclosing three suspect cases.

· Two more people with SARS died in Canada yesterday, bringing the national total to six dead and 129 probable cases.

· Thailand reported its second death from the disease.

· An American Airlines flight from Tokyo was quarantined in California yesterday after five people on board complained of SARS symptoms.

· The New Zealand Government warned Maoris not to perform their traditional greeting - rubbing noses - with Chinese delegates at a conference near Wellington, for fear they could contract the virus.

The Catholic Church in Hong Kong has discouraged priests from distributing wine during Communion and ordered them to wear masks during the service. Wafers are to be put in the hands of the faithful rather than directly on the tongue.

The Australian director of the Hong Kong Development Council said two trade exhibitions scheduled for Hong Kong this month will go ahead as planned.

Of the 600 Australian delegates expected at the 5000-exhibitor fairs, only about a dozen have said they would cancel.

In Malaysia, a newspaper reported a fatality as the country's first SARS victim, but health officials said there were no confirmed cases.
Thurs "Sydney Morning Herald"

China coming clean on spread of killer illness
By Hamish McDonald, Herald Correspondent in Beijing, and agencies
April 3 2003

China's wall of silence on the lethal pneumonia epidemic started to break open yesterday when health officials in southern Guangdong province reported 361 new cases of the illness and nine more deaths during March.

This appears to contradict earlier claims that the outbreak was "under control". At the same time, a team of four experts sent by the World Health Organisation was given permission to visit Guangdong, the suspected origin of the new disease, after waiting five days in Beijing for a response.

The figures bring the number of severe acute respiratory syndrome cases in China to 967 at the end of the March, with 43 reported deaths, though more cases might be added later from other Chinese provinces.

4th Apr 2003, 12:47

SARS creating 'fear of flying'
April 04, 2003

THE Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) scare has sparked a fear of flying among Asian travellers, a leading tourism lobby group has said.

Australian Tourism Export Council deputy managing director Greg Thomas said all inbound operators surveyed had reported "significant cancellations" from Asia.

He said usually Australia would have benefited as an alternative destination for an Asian market put off from travelling to the United States or Europe because of the Iraq conflict.

But Asians had cut back dramatically on all travel because of the virus.

"There is this fear of getting on a plane or going to an airport," Mr Thomas said of SARS.

"There is a wait-and-see attitude."

SARS has killed about 80 people in Asia and Canada and affected more than 2,200 people in over a dozen countries.

Mr Thomas said it was still too early to put a figure on the impact of SARS on inbound tourism to Australia.

But with the Asian market making up more than 40 per cent of all arrivals, it will make a significant dent into the $17 billion annual inbound industry.

The Australian Tourist Commission had attributed half of a 30 per cent fall in forward bookings to the SARS scare.

Mr Thomas said the group travel market was the most severely affected.

He said in particular a number of large groups, some up to 2,000 strong, scheduled to arrive in Australia over the next couple of weeks, could be cancelled.

The virus has already been held responsible for the postponement of the Asia Pacific Summit in Brisbane and a dramatic slashing in delegates to other major conferences.

"The business outlook for the next quarter is looking extremely flat," Mr Thomas said.

"The next stage for us is how the industry can discuss with government on ways we can go forward."



SARS doctors to staff airports
April 04, 2003

DOCTORS and nurses will be placed at major Australian airports from tomorrow to boost protection against the deadly flu-like disease SARS.

Federal Health Minister Kay Patterson said health professionals would be on call at airports to provide advice and assess possible cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

There were seven suspected SARS cases in Australia, including three young Canadian siblings admitted to a Melbourne hospital overnight.

Senator Patterson said airlines would also begin making onboard health announcements about the disease, while incoming and outgoing passengers would be given leaflets about how to protect themselves from SARS.

"I believe we've acted in a prudent and responsible and appropriate way, and we have very, very good procedures in place in our hospitals," she said.

The Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer Richard Smallwood said Australia already had strong measures in place to identify and isolate people possibly ill with SARS.

"What is happening at the moment is just a step up," he said.

"It would be a wise and prudent move to have clinical expertise actually at the airport."

But Professor Smallwood said the measures relied on "people being responsible".

"We are not quarantining everybody that comes in from Hong Kong for example," he said.

"It does require them to protect themselves and those around them by getting in touch with health authorities or their doctor as soon as they begin to feel unwell."

He said incoming aircrews who identified passengers with possible SARS symptoms would radio ahead to quarantine officials and ask for a medical assessment and possible hospitalisation.

Airlines and state health authorities would also keep in contact with other passengers over the three to 10 day incubation period for SARS.

Prof Smallwood said it could be several more days until it was known if the ill girl in Melbourne had SARS and a reliable test for the virus could still be some weeks away.

"At the moment we don't have SARS in the country.

There has been no transmission in Australia," he said.

Australia has notified the World Health Organisation (WHO) of one case of SARS but the victim, a British tourist, has recovered and returned home.

But, aside from the three children in Victoria - a girl and two boys who were visiting from Canada - there were now two suspected cases in NSW and another in Victoria.

Prof Smallwood said it was still unclear whether SARS was spread through personal contact alone, as there was a chance the virus could live on items like glasses or plates for two to three hours.

"So someone who touches that surface or picks up that glass may then put their hand to their mouth or their face and infect themselves," he said.

He said Australia had no power to prevent people with suspected SARS boarding inbound ships or aircraft overseas, and could only advise Australians who were feeling ill not to travel.


4th Apr 2003, 13:24
404 Titan

Listening to the Chief Medical chappie in the federal government in an interview the other day, he also quoted the flu figures. His words were, this puts it into perspective, ie. the flu is a lot more deadly than SARS (as an aside, is the tautology in the use of "severe and acute" so that it is'nt ARS?)

In fact, this chap also ridiculed the comparisons that all our great journos have been doing to the Spanish Flu epidemic.

404 Titan
4th Apr 2003, 15:18

Yes the flue does kill more Australian per year (2000) than SARS but the mortality rate for the flue is only 0.05%. This is very low. If SARS, with a mortality rate of 3.75%, (which the flue had during the great flue epidemics) should get a foothold in Australia and then get out of control, potentially 150,000 people could die. Now should you be worried about that yet? No. Should you be taking precautions to protect yourself? You bet. I live in Hong Kong, which is the largest hotspot for this thing out side Mainland China. People here are taking this thing very seriously. Hopefully because of all the measures taken here in the last week or so we will see a stabilization in the number of cases, currently about 700. The big question is what is happening on the Mainland. The Central Peoples Government is still keeping the general population in the dark. The media isn’t allowed to report on the thing and people could be dropping like flies over there and we would never know about it. China has known about this thing since November but failed to come clean with the rest of the world until just the other day. Maybe they should now have the balls to come clean with there own population so they can protect themselves.

Oh and I forgot to mention that one of the jobs of any government’s chief medical advisers is to stop mass panic in the population. This could make a bad situation worse. So I would take what he said with a grain of salt. Have a talk with you own family doctor. He or she might put all this into prospective for you. They will tell you not to worry about SARS but you should take some simple precautions.

4th Apr 2003, 15:34
404 Titan

I'm not knocking what you have said, but it seems its very early to say whether the mortality rate will continue the same way as it is at the moment.

I've seen the effects of a cholera outbreak and I was in Uganda during the Ebola outbreak that they had there, so am aware of the possibility of mass infections.

404 Titan
4th Apr 2003, 16:00

Maybe the mortality rate will drop as time goes on and they find better ways to treat SARS. At the moment the mortality rate in Hong Kong is about 2.3%. In China I believe from what I have heard it is 3.9%. I think a lot of this has to do with the quality of the health care. Hopefully we won’t see an explosion of this thing in China as the Government over there continues to keep the people in the dark. After all knowledge is our greatest weapon.

sniffer dog
4th Apr 2003, 20:54
404 titan and co including the paranoid media should get this all in perspective.

I live and work in the so called dangerzone Quandong Province and have done for a long time. This viral pnuemonic outbreak has been public knowledge here since early January where it arose in Quanghzou there was no cover up and it was out in the media and press.

Personally I feel I have more chance of being mortally stricken by and out of control tricycle or manic Chinaman in a motor vehicle than copping a dose of SARS, as usual here whilst it is an extremely serious situation no doubt, we have the media doing it's usual paranoia beat up distorting the facts to suit a good story.

ie: Never let the truth ruin a good story. :} :} :cool:

404 Titan
5th Apr 2003, 09:42
sniffer dog

I think you should have a close read of my previous posts. You will find I am not paranoid, i.e.

Now should you be worried about that (SARS)yet? No. Should you be taking precautions to protect yourself? You bet.

My posts have been highlighting the mortality rate of this thing, not the chances of catching it. I am the first to admit that the chance of catching SARS is very very low at present. I also usually don’t have much time for the media but this time maybe the paranoid reporting they have been conducting has avoided a much worse disaster from happening. It certainly has made it socially unacceptable to do some of the public habits people here in Hong Kong have been renowned for. As I said before, knowledge is our greatest weapon.

Tool Time Two
5th Apr 2003, 12:20
Not good enough, nor necessary.

On second thoughts off to the bin with you for a while.

Kaptin M
5th Apr 2003, 13:37
Some of the more gung-ho posters here should perhaps be sending their thoughts to the WHO, or the US Government, which has now declared SARS a quarantinable illness.

The point is not, as sniffer dog says, "Personally I feel I have more chance of being mortally stricken by and out of control tricycle or manic Chinaman in a motor vehicle than copping a dose of SARS..", but more that there is now a NEW serious sickness adding to the list of other serious illnesses, meaning whereas before you had whatever percentage of contracting the usual influenza, etc, ANOTHER one is floating around, and according to reports, a fairly contagious one.

It would only be a fool who didn't take ACTIVE preventitive steps having been TOLD the facts!

BTW, I see that Royal Brunei are now operating with recirc fans off. :D
IMO, a good precaution for all of us to take in trying to play an ACTIVE role in preventing the further spread of SARS at this time.

The Messiah
5th Apr 2003, 19:23
According to Department of Health figures today, the case fatality rate is low, at 2.3% (17 deaths out of 734 in Hong Kong). 65% of the deaths occurred in those aged 60 and above, and 82% occurred in those with chronic illnesses. The majority of patients showed positive response to the new treatment protocols while about 12% needed Intensive Care Unit care. Effective treatment is available which are 80-90% effective using a combination of Ribavirin, an anti-viral medication and steroid. The overall estimated death rate is 0.33 per 100,000 population for SRS in 2003 (until April 1, 2003). The death rate for regular community acquired pneumonia, by comparison, was 43.1 per 100,000 in 2002 and 40.6 per 100,000 population in 2001.

6th Apr 2003, 10:20
Talk about Panic!

Courtesy of the HK Govt. Statistician:

The average Hong Konger has as much chance of dying of SARS as a US citizen has of being killed by a tornado! There is also more chance of bieng killed in a car accident than dying of this thing.

Yes, it has been mishandled initially by several Govt.s in Asia but if this "PANIC" spreads to OZ (you would already have difficulty in buying a surgical mask in most cities) Tourism & business travel will be dead along with all our jobs.

It is already happening in Asia bigtime. The effect is an order of magnitude bigger than the war.

This bug has been around for about 2 months now and not one Cathay or Dragonair crewmember has caught it.

WHO only recommends masks if you are a health worker dealing with SARS patients. The rest of us should just practice good personal hygeine.

sniffer dog
6th Apr 2003, 11:11
To "The Messaih and D.Laminton" precisely my point lets keep this whole thing in perspective.

More people still die from influenza around the world per capita than SARS at present, this may turn out to be an add on we permanently live with around the world like we have been living with influenza for centuries.

Just checkout <www.news.com.au> to see the paranoia in the Australian press at present, some Proffessor has been quoted as saying: "The disease is entrenched in China"


And as 404 Titan says the disgusting habits of the masses on the streets here leave a lot to be desired, if anything it may be the start of a massive crackdown to sort them out and to swallow their "goolies" instead of flinging them to the wind. I dread the thought of wearing one from a passing bus - so far good.


7th Apr 2003, 13:12
I always have a quiet laugh to myself whenever I come across a pilot or pilots waxing on about how much they know about the engineering aspects of their aircraft as if they personally designed it. Invariably they are proved wrong and the cliche of a little knowledge is further reinforced. The latest advice is that turning the recirc. fans off is even a worse thing to do as this bypasses the filters which actually have a chance of reducing nasties in the air( on the 744 anyway) . Personally while I think the chances are small of catching SARS is small, and the chance of dying is even less, it is undeniable mathematically that the general risk of catching something is now increased. Still the most dangerous aspect of the job is driving to work followed by the walk around.

Kaptin M
7th Apr 2003, 15:57
..the cliche of a little knowledge is further reinforced
The latest advice is that turning the recirc. fans off is even a worse thing to do as this bypasses the filters which actually have a chance of reducing nasties in the air

If the recirc. (recirculation) fans are switched to "OFF" then only "new" air will enter the aircraft, ie. air that has come directly from either the high or low stage (or combination) bleeds - this air is inducted directly from outside, cooled, filtered and heated before being pumped into the aeroplane and then dumped overboard.

With the recirc. fans switched "ON", air is re-cycled rather than being dumped overboard, and hence the need to filter it AGAIN - but with different filters to those used in the first process described.

The reason for recirculation fans is as a fuel (cost) saving exercise, the RECYCLED air has already been heated and reduces the demand on the aircon packs and therefore the engine bleed systems, hence with recirc. fans OFF, fuel burnoff will increase marginally.
A small price to pay for a little extra protection against a new virus that is, as yet, fully understood by the medical professionals.
Let alone pilots!!

"An ounce of prevention is far cheaper than a pound of cure."

Far Canard
7th Apr 2003, 18:10
SARS will kill airline jobs not the actual people. With the current war and the million or so suicide bombers lurking around wanting pay back, one can only hope for the best. Might be quite good to have an alternative source of income ready.

Eastwest Loco
7th Apr 2003, 19:47
Dragonair are cancelling heaps of flights PEKHKG.

Just picked up one for a client tomorrow at 1320 local ex HKG.

He now has to stay another night in order to complete his business as time is now too short to get the alternate flight.

That is the 3rd cancellation on one day on a busy route.

It can only get worse unles a handle is firmly grabbed on this thing.

Getting flashbacks of the bug in Steven Kings "The Stand".

It was nicknamed Captain Trips.

How unfortunately close to the mark.

Best all


8th Apr 2003, 08:37
Tues "The Australian"

Hong Kong fears 3000 SARS cases
By Glenda Korporaal, Clara Pirani and Helen Tobler
April 08, 2003

HONG Kong hospitals are bracing for a possible tripling of patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome by the end of the month as the world wide death toll from the virus rose yesterday to 100.

Hong Kong's Hospital Authority chairman, Leong Che-hung, said the city's hospitals were preparing for a worst-case scenario of up to 3000 SARS patients.

By yesterday, Hong Kong had reported 842 cases of SARS and 23 deaths, including six over the weekend.

China disclosed yesterday its official toll of 53 included areas where fatalities previously hadn't been reported – with deaths in the provinces of Shanxi in the north, Sichuan in the west and Hunan in central China. Until yesterday reported fatalities had been largely confined to the suspected original site of the outbreak, the southern Guangdong province, and Beijing.

Dr Leong said on Hong Kong television that the authority had projected a worst-case scenario of 1800 to 3000 patients by the end of the month.

While Dr Leong said there would be sufficient manpower and facilities to deal with the patients, he admitted that the intensive care wards would come under heavy pressure if the worst eventuated.

The warning comes as Hong Kong scientists claim they have developed two tests for SARS, which they have passed on to the World Health Organisation.

Scientists at Hong Kong University say they are now working on more refined tests, which detect the virus at an earlier stage. University researcher Leo Poon said the first test, developed a few weeks ago, involved using SARS antibodies to test the blood cells of a sick patient.

However, Australian doctors say they have not received any test to diagnose the virus.

Communicable Diseases Network Australia acting chair Vicki Krause said patients were assessed through a process of elimination.

"There's still not a definitive test, so it is still a syndrome exclusion – meaning we test for other more common entities, like influenza A or B and other atypical pneumonias," Dr Krause said.

Director of infectious diseases and microbiology at Canberra Hospital, Peter Collignon, said a reliable diagnostic test probably would be several months away. Viral infections are very difficult to diagnose and, even once the SARS virus had been identified, producing a reliable diagnostic test in large quantities would take time, Professor Collignon said.

SARS was listed yesterday as a quarantinable disease under the Commonwealth Quarantine Act in Australia, allowing Customs officials to isolate anyone with symptoms and detain any suspected patients who refuse treatment.

In the past 24 hours, 15 airline passengers in Australia have been assessed at airports, but all were cleared.

Two people in Australia are under investigation – a two-year-old girl from Vietnam, in Victoria and a nine-year-old boy in NSW.

The three children of the Hogarth family and a 30-year-old woman, all in Victoria, were cleared yesterday of the virus.

8th Apr 2003, 12:09

Tuesday April 8, 13:37 PM AEST
Cathay Pacific facing worst crisis in 26 years over SARS : chief

Just one month after announcing bumper profits, Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways warned it was facing its gravest situation in 26 years because of the SARS virus and war in Iraq.

In a letter to staff published by in-house magazine CXWorld, chief executive David Turnbull said the company had already cut 25 percent of flights and expected the number to rise to one third.

"Cathay Pacific has now entered its most dangerous time in terms of its commercial future in the 26 years I have been in the company," Turnbull wrote.

"Over the last six years we have weathered many storms, but the combination of atypical pneumonia and the war in the Middle East has annihilated our passenger bookings."

Cathay last week announced what it said was a temporary reduction of flights to nine destinations in Asia as demand for seats into Hong Kong collapsed as the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in the territory worsened.

Hundreds of flights in and out of Hong Kong have been cancelled since the World Health Organisation last week advised against unnecessary travel to the territory and Guangdong province of southern China.

On Monday alone, 124 flights -- 24 percent of all traffic -- were cancelled.

The illness has killed more than 100 people around the world, including 23 in Hong Kong where it has also infected nearly 900 people.

"Tourism confidence in Hong Kong has been shattered and it will take some time to rebuild after things have settled down," Turnbull said.

The turnaround in the airline's fortunes has been dramatic. On March 5 Cathay announced a six-fold increase in net profits for 2002 to 511 million dollars in trading conditions many airlines around the world found difficult.

As health global authorities try to stem growing anxiety over the SARS virus and the search for a cure continued, Turnbull warned the airline faced longer term worries from the fall-out of the Iraq war.

"We must be mindful of the fact that the war in the Middle East could result in a more fundamental long-term general recession," he wrote.

8th Apr 2003, 13:32
Thanks for the engineering lecture Kaptin. Shall I cut and print it to send to Boeing? I reiterate-manufacturers advice for the 744 is to leave recirc. fans on. I reckon Boeing are pretty touchy at the moment with all the litigation and problems they face with fuel pumps etc., so I suspect some thought has gone into this. So for now, as always, I will follow the specialists advice. When they cant tell me what to do I shall ask you.

9th Apr 2003, 11:59
Walter I tend to agree with Kaptin M. As far as I know the recirc fans are only there for fuel saving. I've not flown 744s but on other Boeing models you can dispatch with both the recirc fans U/S.
Perhaps someone with a DDG or min equip list for the 744 could let us know if it is possible to dispatch with all recirc fans U/S.

9th Apr 2003, 20:11
Dear Walter Mitty you are a Wally, There is no filter on earth that
can filter out a virus, even your sharp eyes can't see them without an electron microscope.So the smart thing to do is turn
the recirc fans off and increase the rate of fresh air exchange.
Boeing are the motherlode of knowledge, but advice from them is
deeply biased by legal and liability issues. Think, don't just accept
anything fed to you. The cemetaries are full of doctor's and experts of all descriptions who knew everything.

Eastwest Loco
9th Apr 2003, 21:20
Just to put a few minds at rest, the corporate passenger (in our case at least) is still flying.

That is the high yield end of the market, and quite a few are upgrading to J in the hope that the Airlines are actually reducing the use of recirc fans and due to the fact that the aircon flows nose to tail. If Airlines made such a policy, and then made it public (without the front to rear info which would make the aeroplane untrimmable) they would definitely minimise their exposure to losses.

I have a sneaking feeling that the Loco bloke and family may have had a little dance with this nasty bug over 3 years ago in LA - hit me at dinner one night and I simply pulled out and went to bed, Next morning called the "Hotel Docs" and was running a 103.9 fever (on the edge of convulsions) and could only sleep sitting up due to fluid on lungs - no feeling in fingertips and sweating like a pig. Very sick puppy.

Being offloaded at LAX due to a QF HBA error didnt help and during a 3 day layover trying to get out at the Holiday Inn LAX (nice hotel with the best view in the world of LAX short finals) the family came down with it too. Took over a month to get over it.

Unfortunately I think we probably infected 90% of the 744 on the way back with me and Mrs Loco in lower deck J class and one boy one either side of the aeroplane in the front of Y stretched out across 3 seats each.

I have never been that ill in my life and didnt even want a beer. That is tragic!!

Back to my alleged contribution to the thread, the high yield stuff seems to still be flying. The filler - the icing on the cake is nervous.

Airlines are very opportunistic, and can and will use such a scare to downsize workforces. Wach this space - it will happen.

Be careful out there

Best all


10th Apr 2003, 12:07
Damn you EWL- Geoff Dixon read your post and has now acted on it!

10th Apr 2003, 12:51
Yawn.Insults from oblivion.Yawn.
"....sigh(exhale).."- the sound of me wasting my breath. I told you the world is full of pilots who know more than the manufacturers( and a virus spreading method and filtration expert too). Has anyone actually read the SARS advice. I state again that I barely know anything about it. That's why I do what the specialists advise. The notices say that the danger zone is if someone sneezes and you are I think within 3mts( dont have the notice with me at the moment) . Recirc fans or not wont make a difference in this case.
Oh and by the way, if filters cant keep viruses out then why do medical staff wear them or indeed go anywhere near a person infected with anything ??????????????????????????
Enuff sed.

Eastwest Loco
10th Apr 2003, 16:53
Ooooooooops permFO

Sorry bout dat!!!

Unfortunately on the planning boards for a good while now.

Da Wally (ex TN) Known in TN as Wally da Whiskey Oscar Golf - is still there so trust nothing that comes out of Management.

Oh and I forgot to thank God for smiting da wally with alopecia.

TN WNY has never forgotten.

What in hell has happened to our precious industry.

Don't let the turkeys get you down.

Best all


10th Apr 2003, 19:37
EWL, you failed to tell what equipment you were flying in 3 years ago when you caught this lurgie, if you in fact caught it in flight. Was it in a Classic by any chance? If you are familiar with the modern ACS in the 400s or 777s, you must admit that great improvements have been made to the system, especially filtering. Recirc fans on or off, there is a complete change of cabin air within 2.5 to 3.0 minutes. If I had to sit next to an infected fellow traveller in an aircraft, a train or a bus, I certainly know which one I would prefer!

Eastwest Loco
10th Apr 2003, 20:55
Hot Dog

It was a QF 744.

Lightly loaded too. We were that crook that we didn't even hit the duty free booze on the way to immigration. Now THAT was a total tradgedy!!!

Best regards


10th Apr 2003, 21:42
It was a QF 744, lightly loaded too. EWL, even more reason to believe you were not infected on board. Very glad you survived. Very sorry you missed out on your duty free booze! Cheers HD.

Eastwest Loco
10th Apr 2003, 22:05
Hot Dog - if anything I carried the bug on board - along with Mrs loco and the junior locos. We were seriously not well.



Borneo Wild Man
12th Apr 2003, 09:23
As a perspective, 1 million people died from Malaria last year.How many died on NSW roads last year?Did it stop people getting in cars. More people will die of the common cold.Sure SARS is nasty,but lets get it into perspective and the media hype don't help!

Kaptin M
12th Apr 2003, 12:54
Announced today - Saturday April 12 - 4 cases of SARS discovered in Japan.

But the Iraqi Minister of information has said not to worry about SARS, as it has as much chance of affecting citizens around the world as the "American infidels" have of entering Baghdad.
His statement is backed up by several posters on PPRuNe, who have stated that although the World health Organisation is concerned at the apparent rapid transmission of the virus, they are scaremongering.

12th Apr 2003, 17:24
...of course the WHO is as useless as the UN, most people realize that don't they?

Eastwest Loco
12th Apr 2003, 17:56
Borneo - you have hit the nail on the head.

500,000 cark it anually with the common flu - and what has SARS taken?? About 200. Tragic for loved ones, and it is a virulent bug, but shutting down the world is hardly the answer.

I question why we have seen such a gross over reaction to this bug.

Best all


12th Apr 2003, 19:58
A very good question it is too EWL. I would suggest fear has driven this issue. Fear of the unknown ,even though the figures suggest that even if you do contract it you stand a very good chance of recovering from it. Statements like "4 SARS cases in Japan" just hilight the hysteria.

Kaptin M
12th Apr 2003, 21:40
"I question why we have seen such a gross over reaction to this bug.

Apparently because the mortality rate is 4-8 times more than that of other similar illnesses!

Statements like "4 SARS cases in Japan" just hilight the hysteria.
These are the first 4 cases that have been confirmed, and publically announced in Japan to indicate that the virus is not confined to Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Viet Nam, Canada, and the other countries so far announced.
Basically I would guess that it is warning people to take EXTRA precautions at this time, eg. wash your hands more frequently, be wary of hand to mouth/nose/eye contact when touching anything used by other people, and if YOU feel that you are suffering any of the symptoms - breathlessness, high fever, dry cough - consult a doctor asap.

It may seem to be "scaremongering", but if the media DIDN'T let us know about it, would that make them irresponsible for not helping to contain the spread?

12th Apr 2003, 22:48
"Business Week" Hong Kong

How SARS Is Strangling Hong Kong

The toll of the killer SARS pneumonia on Hong Kong continues to mount. For most of the past week, about 40 new cases a day have cropped up, double the rate of a week earlier. But the fear gripping Hong Kong as a result of SARS may be far more damaging than the disease itself.

For a city that thrives on trade, being quarantined from the rest of the world feels like being strangled. About one-third of the more than 500 flights that usually take off or land in Hong Kong on a typical day are being canceled. Those that are still running are largely empty. For a time, outbound flights were filled with expatriate families fleeing a city whose schools are shuttered. But even that traffic has dried up. Those who wanted to go have mostly left.

The impact of the virus hit me with a thud when I returned to Hong Kong from Beijing on Apr. 4. It was a Friday evening, normally a peak period for flight arrivals. But not a single person was waiting in the cavernous south wing of the immigration hall, manned by only a handful of forlorn immigration officers.

STAYING IN. Travel agents report that outbound bookings for the Easter holiday period are down an incredible 80%. But even those of us who might still dare to get on a plane find that many countries don't want us. Thailand is checking incoming arrivals. If one person on a plane is infected by SARS, everyone on the plane is subject to quarantine, according to travel agents here. Malaysia has suspended automatic visas. Singapore has told foreign workers visiting SARS-infected areas like Hong Kong that they face quarantine on their return.

Hong Kong's streets are eerily empty. The jostling, noisy crowds that characterize this fast-paced city have retreated in fear. For a city that depends on the service sector to generate 86% of its gross domestic product and is powered with hundreds of thousands of small businesses, this disease could be a real economic killer.

After all, restaurants and other shops that depend on cash flow to pay the rent aren't going to be able to keep going indefinitely. My son and I went to a restaurant for dinner on Apr. 10. It had seating for more than 50 people. We were the only diners.

PSYCH-OUT. I was here during the Asian currency crisis of 1997-98. People called it the Asia flu, but what's happening now is so different. During the currency crisis, events unfolded in slow motion. Sure, there were moments of panic. But they were limited to the financial markets.

This fear is in the streets. And never, at least in Hong Kong, has economic activity just stopped this quickly. Some commentators are saying it's the worst crisis since 1967, when a wave of bombings and deadly riots inspired by Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution swept the city.

The damage done by the SARS pneumonia is now above all psychological. Most infected people are health-care workers or others who have been in contact with another sick person. The disease is not increasing exponentially, like a typical influenza outbreak. And though the mortality rate is uncomfortably high for this sort of disease, it's mostly older people and those with a history of health problems who are dying.

CUNNING AND DANGEROUS. It would be wrong to say, as Franklin D. Roosevelt declared during the Great Depression, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. SARS really kills. Researchers still don't fully understand how it spreads, nor do they know how to cure it. They don't even know how long the incubation period is. No test can detect its presence. It isn't the plague, or even a killer pandemic of the sort that swept the world in 1918. But it is a cunning and dangerous microbe.

I'm afraid that Hong Kong, China, and perhaps much of the rest of the world are going to have to learn to live as best as possible can with this disease. How everyone adapts will go a long way toward determining what sort of future Hong Kong has as an economic hub.

However, here at the nexus of a mysterious disease outbreak and an urban jewel of world commerce in the 21st century, a frightening scene unfolds: As we Hong Kong residents try to take preventive measures against the disease, we're watching the slow strangulation of our city.

Chimbu chuckles
14th Apr 2003, 20:18
A Doctor, who happens to be a old friend of my Uncle, was interviewed on a Sydney radio station today...he's a Virologist or whatever the specialist label is for this sort of bug.

He's simply dismayed at the level of panic caused by media and Govt alike over what is, essentially, nothing.

One statistic he used was 35000/annum die of Typical Flu in the US...think about that !!...it's nearly 100/day, every day, week in and week out, year after year.

What are we up to now...200 spread over Asia and North America in the last several months...even if it was 2000 is it worth the reaction being ellicited by frenzied Media bored with the war?

60 Minutes report last night drew direct comparisons with 1919 Flu pandemic and the Black Plague...suggesting 747s are the rats of the 21st century:*

They ask Doctors who have been working around the clock and who are exhausted leading questions get the sort of emotional answers which lead to panic, and do so with no thought other than to ratings.

What price freedom of the press?

40 million people died of Flu in Europe over something like 2 years just after WW1...that's 55555/day...in a period in history before anyone understood personal hygene and before antiviral drugs were invented.

Where's the comparison??

A few times every century a bug comes along and knocks off a chunk of the population...this, in the Doctors professional opinion, is not one of those.


Kaptin M
16th Apr 2003, 19:17
From a post by raitfaiter, on the Fragrant Harbour forum, a post with which I concur.
The WHO on the World Service last night sounded a great deal more worried about SARS than the apologists above, in fact it seems to me that attitudes like 'don't worry it's only flu....' were part of the reason that all this got out of control. The WHO said they were increasingly worried that, amongst the 9 that died yesterday, some were fully fit before contracting the disease, and yet still died, refuting the suggestion that it was a disease that only killed those already in some sort of respiratory distress. More info can be found for both pax and crew on the Center for Disease Control website, based in Atlanta, which is in overall control of this sort of situation.

Chimbu chuckles
16th Apr 2003, 19:52
A mate emailed from Asia tonight saying that he'd read somewhere in the last few days that 3 times as many people had died of pneumonia and ordinary flu since the SARS outbreak than had died of SARS itself...food for thought I would think!!!

Of course it's not good...but I object to journos comparing it to 1919 for the sake of ratings.

I think SARS is probably here to stay and we'll just have to get used to it like comon flu...which kills 500000/year apparently worldwide...1369/day, every day, year in and year out!!

Lets keep some perspective here.


16th Apr 2003, 19:55
Just to back up the Kaptin's comments, this little 'flu' is currently killing about 5% of those who catch the bug. When you compare this to the .05% who die of the 'normal' flu then a similar infection rate to the normal flu will result in considerably more than 35,000 dropping dead in the USA in a 12 month period.

Someone somewhere else posted the figures for Australia that we have a couple of thousand die each year from the normal flue but that we can expect ten times that amount if this thing starts spreading as 'normally' as the other flu viruses around! :eek:

It ain't over until it's over!

404 Titan
17th Apr 2003, 16:46

You’ll probably find that I said that in one of my previous posts. The only think is that SARS isn’t spreading like the Spanish Flue of 1918 which by the way killed 55000 people every day for two years and infected 1/5 of the world’s population. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 3,235 cases with 154 deaths in 20 countries. A total of 1,515 people (over 46%) have recovered and been sent home. As another side note, in Hong Kong, the average number of community pneumonia cases is around 20,000/year, with around 3,000 deaths. This is a mortality rate of 15%. Did you ever see people worried about this? NO. The reason is we accepted the risks and got on with our lives. Once the media and the W.H.O. in there scare mongering ways stop reporting the daily infections and deaths of SARS, which is miniscule, then the world population will be able to get on with their lives and accept the risks we all take every day just walking out the front door.


17th Apr 2003, 22:24
SARS is atypical pneumonia, with a current fatality rate of 3-4% I believe, and therefore should be compared with pneumonia, or typical pneumonia, which is not much better, rather than with the flu. The Spanish flu of 1918 killed around 30% of its victims, almost 1 in 3. No comparison really.
This current bug is as much a study in the present power of the media as much as anything. Consider that the average aussie is aghast at visitors who expect to see kangaroos hopping around people's backyards in Sydney, and yet they themselves are led to believe that this bug permeates the air in cities such as Singapore, where the truth is that if you don't visit one of the hospitals wards and don't know one of the current 70 or so infected personally with the disease then you virtually no chance of catching it (in Singapore). You have more chance of being killed by a car.
The chance of food poisonng is probably higher in most countries, but that doesn't stop visitors, so why the real fear of this bug?

404 Titan
18th Apr 2003, 10:55

I agree with the direction of your post except the great flue epidemic of 1918 had a mortality rate of about 2.5% not 30.0% as you quoted (See the link below). It had a very similar mortality rate to SARS except SARS is obviously not as infectious as the Spanish flue otherwise we would be seeing people dropping like flies which isn’t happening. This is a complete media beat up which needs to be addressed by people sending the media outlets letters and e-mails of what they think of their reporting.

www.stanford.edu/group/virus/uda/ (http://www.stanford.edu/group/virus/uda/)


Life as a journey
18th Apr 2003, 14:29
You're right, this is a media beat up.

But the reason for the beat up is fear.

And the reason for the fear is a psychological reaction to a build up of market forces whose full effects have yet to be fully realised.

People are aware of this, at a mostly sub-conscious level.

Our responses are borne out in the markets, in this SARS scare, and in war.

Rallying against the beat up, as described, is pointless.

SARS and the beat up of its effects, though not yet fully realised or understood, is a consequence of the psychology of fear, not a generator of fear.

These things are well described in Robert Prechter's books on market analysis, specifically, 'Tidal Wave'.

Other exceptionally good reading, for a glimpse of the way the world is reacting to terrorism for instance, can be found in Philip Bobbit's epic tome, 'Achilles Shield.'

18th Apr 2003, 16:13
Hmmm!...yes, well...let me see now, err, can I think about this? Can you run that past me once again? ;)

18th Apr 2003, 18:54
titan, agree with you 100%. The figures you quote however are for the general population, I am using figures for those infected. Fully 30% of those who caught the Spanish flu at that time died of the disease - between 30-40 million worldwide. Scary stuff eh? The figures for SARS seem to be around 5% of those infected. With a number of these being elderly and suffering from multiple ailments. The truly scary thing about the Spanish flu was that it struck mainly healthy young people in their prime.

18th Apr 2003, 18:58
Picked up an interesting comment from the Minister for Health in Singapore last night.

He said that 85% of SARS cases (and I assume he meant those in Singapore) have resulted from infection caught in hospitals.


404 Titan
19th Apr 2003, 01:28

Again I agree with you except by my estimate the mortality rate was between 6.3% and 12.5%. My calculations are based on the world’s population of about 1.6 billion people in 1918. If 1/5 of the worlds population got it as quoted in the link on my previous post, that equates to 320 million. Again from this link if 20 to 40 million people died then I think the maths works out to the above answer. As a side note I always thought mortality rate was a comparison of total deaths to the total number infected. Obviously in my above link this is not the case.

19th Apr 2003, 17:40
Can we agree that the Spanish Flu was "alot" more dangerous than SARS? Rather than debate the percentage?

SARS is shaping to look more dangerous from an economic point of view then purely health wise (which is easy to say if you're healthy).

Lets hope they control it soon for everyones sake. Especially the sick.

19th Apr 2003, 17:52
Gee Whizzz, I hope the everyday HANGOVER isn't as contagious as this thing or we'll all be bug gered.!!!!!!!!!

20th Apr 2003, 09:56
I am going to close this thread and move the most recent and relevant SARS posts to a new thread.

This issue should not focus or reflect on Virgin.

There is some serious economic damage going down out there which affects us all.

One needs only see the footage of the Terminal in Hong Kong to realise that the airlines there are in deep trouble, and it is reflected most every where else.

It may or may not be "as bad" as the Spanish Flu but then people couldn't travel with it from one side of the world to another in less than 24hrs with it either.

The speed of transport then, weeks or months for most journeys, usually "flushed out" any problems en-route.

And then the Captain had to fly the appropriate flag if there was any sickness on board when entering harbour.

As a boy I can still remember the odd "quarantine" and there was a purpose built facility always available for that purpose.

We have become a little blase about the simple things that can kill people in large numbers.

Skinny Dog
20th Apr 2003, 11:26
The news gets bleaker by the day:

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has taken its three remaining Airbus A340-300s out
of service and is grounding its nine remaining Airbus A310s in June as it
suffers from a sharp drop in business caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory
Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.

"With the revision of our flight schedules, we have stopped flying the three
A340-300s left in the fleet from 15 April, and the A310-300s will be phased
out in June, five months earlier than originally planned," it says in response to
queries from ATI.

Star Alliance carrier SIA has since the middle of March been badly affected
by a drop in business caused by the SARS outbreak and has cut around 20%
of its scheduled services.

Its three remaining A340-300s - as well as two on order - are being bought by
Boeing. The US manufacturer agreed in 1999 to acquire the carrier's entire
fleet of 17 A340-300s as part of a 777 deal.

Separately, there has been speculation in recent days that SIA will again seek
to defer deliveries of five firm-ordered A340-500s. The aircraft were
originally due to have arrived in January this year but late in 2001 first
deliveries were deferred to October 2003.

The carrier says today that there have been additional minor delays to the
delivery schedule but "we are still planning to launch A340-500 services
early in 2004".

21st Apr 2003, 02:20
Some statistics from a Chinese newspaper last week.

26,000 people were killed in road accidents in the first qtr. 2003. Now THAT'S an EPIDEMIC :E

Sopwith Pup
22nd Apr 2003, 07:50
I have always taken what the media reports with a large pinch of salt. At first I have tended to agree with the general responce that SARS is more of a Media beat up, but now I'm not so sure.
The problem may well be in the future potential of this virus to reek absolute havoc around the world. I saw an interview on TV with an ozzie doctor this morning, he has just returned home after having been in the thick of it in a HKG hospital, the impression I got from him was that this virus should be taken seriously.
I hate to admit it, but perhaps the Media have unwitingly got it right for once!

luna landing
22nd Apr 2003, 09:58
I guess, sitting in our "comfort zone" it is hard to imagine the hospitals with hundreds of people needing beds and the frenzied staff. Apparently, the symptoms are debilitating - these people are very sick, and the staff no doubt very scared knowing that medical staff have already died from it. Perhaps the hospitals are understaffed with people not turning up for work etc etc.

The percentage of people dying is small, but there are thousands of sick people needing treatment and isolation, and still a lot of answered questions about the virus and how it is spread.

22nd Apr 2003, 10:32
Australian medical authorities suggest that just 200 SARS cases would probably overwhelm the ICU facilities in hospitals due to the intense nature of the required treatment.

This is one time bomb ticking.

Capt Snooze
22nd Apr 2003, 16:09
Those interested in the debate as to mortality rates may find some interesting reading here. (http://www.wired.com/news/medtech/0%2C1286%2C58552%2C00.html)

And another interesting piece in the local rag ...........

Shenzhen Daily (http://www.sznews.com/szdaily/20030422/ca286838.htm)

22nd Apr 2003, 16:56
Everyone seems to be more concerned about the economical effect of SARS. What about the poor innocent people who contract the diseases and then die. What about there families... Economies rise and fall every day they aren't human. We are the reason to stop the spread of SARS. Humanity reason not economical reasons is why we must defect this disease....... Remember you could be next...

22nd Apr 2003, 18:15
Can someone please translate that to English for me, please?

23rd Apr 2003, 17:43
SARS deals huge blow to tourism
By Jordan Baker
April 23, 2003

THE deadly SARS outbreak has forced Australian Airlines to cut direct services between Asia and the tourist city of Cairns in north Queensland.

The decision is a major blow for the city, which is already suffering a massive dengue fever outbreak and a tourism downturn due to the war in Iraq.

The Qantas subsidiary has been flying direct from Cairns to Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka in Japan, and to Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei for less than six months.

But the Cairns-Taipei route has been suspended from May 7 to June 30, and Cairns-Hong Kong flights have been cut from three to one a week until May 27.

Chief executive Denis Adams said the decision was taken in response to a drop in demand for air travel, particularly throughout Asia.

"As a result (of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) our forward booking has been affected," he said.

The changes were temporary, Mr Adams said.

Tropical Tourism North Queensland spokesman Leigh Sorensen said the tourist market from Hong Kong was about 90 per cent down on last year.

"There's an impact out of Japan, although it's much smaller - we're probably seeing a 25 per cent downturn out from Japan at the moment," he said.

"We're having a downturn to a lesser extent due to a combination of SARS and the war from some of our long-haul markets."

Tourist operators are hoping a strong domestic market will offset some of the overseas losses.

If the SARS scare continued for the next few months, the city would suffer, Mr Sorensen said.

"There'll be a flow-on to other areas - something like 40 to 50 per cent of the economy in this region is affected by tourism," he said.

24th Apr 2003, 02:09
Thurs "The Australian"

Airline slashes services
By Jason Gregory
April 24, 2003

AUSTRALIAN Airlines has cut flights and encouraged staff to take holidays after the SARS crisis cut bookings by 60 per cent during the past week.

It emerged yesterday that the severe acute respiratory syndrome crisis, which has caused massive damage to some Asian carriers, including Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific, also had hit Cairns-based Australian Airlines.

Airline chief executive Denis Adams said the carrier had slashed services to Hong Kong, suspended all flights to Taipei and amalgamated their Osaka and Fukuoka services because of "external forces beyond our wildest imagination".

The airline, which began in Cairns on October 27 last year, has gone into damage control with the temporary cutbacks since last week when fewer leisure passengers from Asia were detected.

The carrier is principally an inbound airline and relies on the inbound leisure market for up to 90 per cent of its business.

"We began to have very ordinary numbers all through last week and the bookings are dropping away quickly," Mr Adams said.

"Through watching what was happening with the other airlines we were expecting a setback, but perhaps not this big. As we were leisure market-orientated, we were probably insulated early on."

Most aircraft operated by the airline are flying half as many trips.

Mr Adams, who yesterday met graduating staff in Cairns after they completed a 5½ week training program, said there would be no reduction in employee numbers.

However some staff would take leave and others would be moved from flying to training courses in coming months.

Mr Adams said the airline was on a growth path and was adding destinations, including Sydney and Bali, in July.

Airlines with core Asian business also have been hammered in the past four weeks as a consequence of SARS with Cathay Pacific reporting to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange the airline could report heavy losses from the virus.

Qantas Airways has been forced to slash 1400 staff and Japan Airlines has cancelled some services to and from the region.

Air New Zealand yesterday announced further SARS-related cancellations to some routes during May and June.

It also warned that the current world airline industry environment "clearly remains extremely volatile".


25th Apr 2003, 01:37
Fri "Sydney Morning Herald"

SARS could be worse than AIDS: expert
April 25 2003

The SARS virus could turn out to be more devastating than AIDS, a British health expert has warned.

Dr Patrick Dixon, an AIDS and global trends specialist at the London Business School, warned that, on current trends, there could be one billion cases of SARS within 60 weeks.

Comparing it to the flu pandemic of 1918-1919 that killed 30 million people, Dr Dixon called for urgent action before SARS killed tens of millions of people.

"We are in an urgent race to prevent a global SARS catastrophe, with cases doubling every two weeks and a 25 per cent chance that we are already too late to stop uncontrolled, explosive spread, possibly leading to many tens of millions of deaths," Dr Dixon told British newspaper the Daily Express.

"This is not a yuppie disease contracted by air travellers. That is a pathetic reaction that will put the whole world at risk."

AIDS had infected 80 million people over the past 15 to 20 years, but SARS was more easily spread, he said.

"AIDS spreads slowly. But this is different, we don't have the time. This is a far more serious epidemic potentially than AIDS," he said.

SARS has killed at least 252 people and infected nearly 4300 in 25 countries since November 16.


404 Titan
25th Apr 2003, 13:57

I think the so called Aids and Global trends expert needs to get his facts right before he makes such a sweeping and alarming statement as that. Here in Hong Kong the number of people in hospital infected by SARS has been falling for the last week. The only alarming increase in the number of people in hospital is in China. This large increase is more a case of them coming clean as to the real numbers than in “New Cases”. By the way isn’t it funny that you don’t hear of the number of people that have been cured of this and sent home against those that are being infected each day. I think you would be very surprised.

PS: This is probably the same gentleman that told us in 1980 that 20% of the world’s population world be infected with AIDS within 10 years.

25th Apr 2003, 17:39
Some expert. He happened to leave out the not so unimportant fact that Aids eventually kills 100% of its patients whereas SARS is running at around 5-8%. This is a study in hysteria.

25th Apr 2003, 22:59
Could this be the light at the end of the tunnel ?.......


Vietnam Readies For WHO To Declare Country Safe From SARS

HANOI (AP)--Just a few days more. If Vietnam can make it to Monday without any new SARS cases, the World Health Organization is prepared to announce that the communist country is the world's first to rid itself of the deadly bug.

No new cases have been reported here since April 8. WHO has set a 20-day window - double the disease's incubation period - as the standard for lifting travel advisories and declaring that the outbreak is no longer spreading.

"It's looking good, but I'm always worried something new will happen," Pascale Brudon, WHO's country representative, said.

Even if things do go right, there will be no celebrations if the SARS thermometer does indeed come back to normal Monday.

Vietnam instead plans to use the news as a springboard for tougher measures to ensure it doesn't get caught in a second wave.

"Vietnam is close to China and Hong Kong where major outbreaks occurred. There remains potentially huge dangers of the SARS virus spreading (here) from the northern borders," said Hoang Thuy Long, director of Vietnam's National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.

"We must take more active and stronger measures than during the time when Vietnam was in the middle of the outbreak."

During the past week, the Health Ministry has proposed closing off Vietnam's 1,350-kilometer northern border with China.

It will also request voluntary health certificates from people arriving from SARS-infected areas and has advised Vietnamese citizens to avoid traveling to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada and Singapore.

Vietnam is also no longer accepting Chinese visitors at its popular northern tourist site, Ha Long Bay.

WHO communicable disease expert Carlo Urbani was the first to identify severe acute respiratory syndrome late February, when the virus spread like wildfire through Hanoi's only international hospital.

Dozens of medical workers fell ill and five succumbed to the disease, but quick action kept the virus tethered. Urbani also become infected and later died in neighboring Bangkok.

"I think we can learn quite a lot of things from Vietnam," Brudon said, "We are the only ones who can begin to think about (announcing the disease is contained). All the others are still in a sense of urgency. I think we can draw good lessons from here."

The disease was brought into Vietnam by a Chinese-American businessman who arrived from Hong Kong.

WHO has since identified him as the country's only "index case" or super carrier as he remains the single source of the outbreak that led to 63 infections in Hanoi.

The Hanoi French Hospital closed its doors March 11, a move that is credited with slowing the rate of infection and keeping SARS from spreading beyond its doors. China and Hong Kong, which have reported more than 210 deaths, never had that opportunity.

The disease has killed more than 260 worldwide and sickened at least 4,300 in more than 20 countries.

Vietnam was one of the first places to report a major outbreak and its numbers were once on par with Hong Kong and Singapore, which has recorded at least 17 deaths.

Even though officials now hope they have a grip on the disease, they also realize just how fast that could all change.

"We have to heighten vigilance and be prepared to cope with it," Long said, "I think the announcement will dispel concerns of foreign visitors, and I hope that they would come back to Vietnam."


25th Apr 2003, 23:25
Wirraway, You my friend are a disease which needs treatment:sad:

The Enema Bandit
26th Apr 2003, 15:53
Elevator, now that's not called for. I personally appreciate his news items that I don't get the opportunity to see.

404 Titan
27th Apr 2003, 18:48
This article in the South China Morning Post sums up my attitude to the whole SARS thing in a nutshell.

Living with Sars

By Tom Mitchell
South China Morning Post
Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Like many mothers whose children work as journalists in China, mine has an exaggerated fear of the Chinese government and all its agents.

My more worldly dad, on the other hand, understands that it is often the littler - and far less dramatic - things that one should worry more about. "I am much more worried about the Chinese mosquitoes than I am about their politicians and police," he once, wrote me before I ventured off for a backpacking trip through south and southwest China.

"You are too smart to run afoul of the law, but dumb enough not to take that medication. Malaria and hepatitis are no fun - so be careful and swallow the pills."

The tiny coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars), therefore, has both of my parents plenty worried - so much so that I was somewhat surprised by the urgency of their tone over the phone during the past few weeks.

My mother - being a mother - is particularly upset, and it does not help that many of her friends and acquaintances frequently ask her about the health of her far - flung son and are generous in their suggestions of many a homespun remedy. Had I, for example, considered walking around with a dab Bacitracin ointment under each of my nostrils? Well no, I had not.

It did not take me long to figure out that my own profession bears much blame for the overblown fears of my parents and many others. Consider this recent gem from the pages of the Economist, which is one of my father's favourite windows onto, the outside world: "Streets in [Hong Kong's] business district normally bustling, are eerily quiet. Rush hour is gone, as people try to take public transport at unusual hours. Everybody who has a face mask wears it."

Everybody? Really? The South China Morning Post was so concerned about the health of its employees that it sold us all masks - a set of two or three for HK$12, if I remember right. I'm not sure because I never wore them and now I cannot even remember where I put them. Most of my friends and colleagues have not worn theirs either.

One friend - a long-time Hong Kong resident – was travelling in China when the outbreak here first hit the international headlines.

"My brain says we're seeing something of an over-reaction and when a 14-year-old's fake Web site can empty shelves in Wellcome I know we're not dealing with a rational fear,” he e-mailed me as he was making his way overland back to Hong. “But all the same – should I be wearing that mask?”

I told him I did not think it was as bad as all that, and I thought his reaction after arriving back in Hong Kong summed it all up rather well: "The situation looks a lot more manageable from inside Hong Kong than it does from outside.”

Another friend in Tokyo, who works for a major multinational company, e-mailed me about a recent episode at the office. “It is nice to confirm that you are alive,” my friend wrote. “We had a visitor from Hong Kong last week. Some people in my office got pretty nervous getting close to this person. Though he didn't realise that he was not welcome, I still felt sorry for him."

I have even gotten a taste of this myself. Tonight I am supposed to fly to England for a wedding. Or at least I think I am. My invitation is now conditional upon a poll of the guests, who will be asked if they are comfortable if someone from Hong Kong is milling about in their midst.

'It is an irrational fear, but also an understandable one. And, perhaps it is easy to be too blasé about such things.

So at least my parents are not the only ones worried beyond distraction about Sars. Besides nervous wedding guests and Tokyo office workers, they also have as company some of the world’s leading health professionals. Consider, as an example, this little anecdote I heard about during a brief visit to Guangzhou last week.

A friend had attended a recent press conference given by officials from the World Health Organisation and Guangdong Health Bureau in Guangzhou. After the officials had taken their last questions and the two teams said goodbye to each other, my friend noticed one WHO delegate heading to the bathroom.

Perhaps thinking he could get in a question or two at the urinals, my friend followed the WHO official. But as it turned out, the WHO expert did not have to use the bathroom. Instead, my friend found him standing at the sink. Having just shaken hands with his Guangdong counterparts, the WHO official was scrubbing his own, furiously, with liquid soap and warm water.

Tom Mitchell is an Associate Editor in the Post's Business department

29th Apr 2003, 12:02
I can only agree with the sentiments of the SCMP reporter. Whilst I admit that it was probably better to err on the side of caution during the early days of the SARS outbreak when little was known about the disease, the resulting hysteria has caused far more damage than the disease itself. That hysteria has been fed largely by the global media seeking to senationalise the situation.

Yes, people have died from SARS, a great tragedy for all concerned. However, the majority of those who have died from this disease have been elderly, had some underlying chronic disease, or had simply delayed seeking treatment until it was too late. In addition, according to the WHO, SARS is far less infectious than many other respiratory illnesses we have learned to live with; a fact born out by the relatively low number of cases compared to the size of the population. Now that more is known about SARS, can we all please put things in perspective and get on with repairing the considerable damage that has been caused?

29th Apr 2003, 12:33
Has anyone heard one news or media article about the people who have been infected, then pulled through and are now healthy... surely the people who were intially infected and didn't die are now healthy and non infectious..

Whats that.. I hear a resounding silence....

30th Apr 2003, 10:44

Here is a link to the info you requested.

It also debunks a lot of myths about this disease.

This is the 3rd mass hysteria of thenew millenium - Y2K, 9/11 and now SARS

30th Apr 2003, 14:08
Thanks for that D....

I'm just in the process of eating my words.. :ooh: TV3 news in New Zealand have just done a article about how the SARS infection is decreasing...

A news organisation needs to find some survivors of SARS in Hong Kong and China and do an article to show that if you get SARS.. it's not the end of the world... well for 90% of ya any way..


30th Apr 2003, 18:19
I heard today that alcohol is a good antidote to the SARS virus? Don't know if that's true or not, but I'm pulling the cork on the second red just to be sure!;)

1st May 2003, 16:51
I'm with you Rev, I heard the same thing...hic!! ;)

1st May 2003, 17:37

Hong Kong investigates SARS relapses
The SARS virus may be more serious than first thought, with Hong Kong medical authorities investigating the relapse of 12 previously recovered patients.

Health authorities in Hong Kong thought the 12 SARS victims had recovered, and released them from hospital.

But doctors are now investigating whether the virus is more durable than first thought, after the 12 suffered relapses.

Six people are said to be in stable conditions, while the remaining six have again been released.

The SARS outbreak is believed to be coming under increasing control in Hong Kong.

Relapsing patients could again see widespread infections happening in the community.

404 Titan
1st May 2003, 18:06

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had a relapse of the flue after thinking I had recovered. The last flue I had was in December and I had relapses three times from it. Each time not as bad as the previous though and all this after having a flue injection in August. I think the ABC is really trying to drag this story out.

PS: As of today the twelve people who had relapses, six have gone home again and the other six remain in hospital on observation and should be going home in the next few days.

3rd May 2003, 15:10
From the ABC website:

A member of a Qantas flight crew has been admitted to St Vincents Hospital in Sydney with suspected Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

Qantas says the female flight crew member became unwell yesterday and was admitted to hospital this morning.

She last worked on Qantas flight 32 from Singapore that arrived in Sydney last Sunday.

Qantas believes she was not infectious at the time of the flight.

The airline says as a precaution it has decided to contact passengers and crew who travelled on that flight.

A spokesman for St Vincents Hospital says microbiology and pathology lab test have been performed on the woman to test for the SARS virus.

He says they will take 24 hours to process.

The woman is believed to be in a stable condition

404 Titan
3rd May 2003, 20:28

Yeh Yeh I’ve heard all this before. X number of passengers who have just returned from a SARS “Hotspot” feared of catching the deadly virus. All so far have been negative (had the common flue) and I bet this will be the same. At the current rate of infection in Singapore you have a 1:30000 chance of catching this thing and 1:150000 chance of dieing from it. You have about a 1:20 of catching the flue. The media should stop reporting suspected cases and concentrate on confirmed cases. Oh maybe that won’t work because they won’t have a story to tell because there aren’t any.