SARS isn’t just a health problem
“The economic impact of Sars is terrifying world leaders and financial institutions. Singapore’s Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong, warned yesterday: ‘If we fail to contain Sars, it may well become the worst crisis our country has faced.’
Estimating it has cost the city-state $847 million (£540m) so far, he added: ‘Sars will knock you backward, it may even kill you, but I can tell you Sars can kill the economy and all of us will be killed by the collapsing economy.’ …”.
The Economist has come to the same conclusion:
“the effects are now so widespread that some analysts believe SARS will be more damaging to East Asia’s economies than the war in Iraq. Standard & Poor’s, a credit-rating agency, reckons the disease’s impact could cut Hong Kong’s GDP by 0.6%-1.5% this year, Singapore’s by 0.4%-2%, and China’s by up to 0.5%. The United Nations said on Thursday that the combined effect of SARS and the war would cut almost half a percentage point off economic growth throughout Asia this year.”