SARS IN CHINA. The crisis and its consequences. Alain GUIDETTI Ambassade de Suisse à Beijing. Swiss Embassy, Beijing, June 2003

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1 Swiss Embassy, Beijing, June 2003 SARS IN CHINA The crisis and its consequences Alain GUIDETTI Ambassade de Suisse à Beijing

2 2 SARS in China The rise of a world concern : facts and perception The crisis in context : China s new leadership Management of the crisis I: the communication case Response from : international community private sector the public Management of the crisis II: a success in prevention Economic impact Open questions and lessons learned

3 3 The rise of a world concern : facts and perception SARS in figures - China and international SARS and others : epidemiological landscape Benchmarks A world concern

4 4 Internal figures SARS: March - June 2003

5 International figures SARS: March - June 2003

6 Epidemiological landscape Comparative points : SARS, flues, AIDS and some others... SARS specificities : Limited contagiousness High mortality rate Lines of expansion World dimension: 30 countries affected 6

7 7 Benchmarks November 16 : February 11: first case in Foshan first report from Chinese authorities to WHO End February / Beginning of March : spread of SARS to Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore and Toronto March 12 : April 2 : international alert by WHO WHO team to Guangdong first travel ban by WHO

8 Benchmarks (Follow-up) April 6 : first death known in Beijing April 20 : towards official transparency - Beijing recognised as epicenter of SARS Mid-May : drop in cases Mid-June: WHO lifts travel ban to Hong Kong, Guangdong, Taiwan Beijing 8

9 9 China s new political context Changes in leadership : CCP Congress (XXVI ) and NPA Session The fourth generation of Chinese leaders Objectives of the new leadership : Long term aims : Economic development towards a well-off society Expansion of regional trade and world integration Regional and international stability New concerns : Poverty alleviation and reduction of inequalities Development of the west Fight against corruption

10 10 Chinese economy : still in growth Economic outcomes and forecasts Growth GDP : +/- 8 % Growth foreign investment : > 50 bln USD Growth foreign trade : > 620 bln USD

11 Management of the crisis I the communication case Before April 20 : a credibility problem Lack of accurate reporting Lack of credible information SARS is under control After April 20 : towards more transparency Reorientation of the communication policy: Obligation of accurate reporting Interdiction of lying More independence for media Improved information 11

12 Response from the public From ignorance to panic The role of the rumor Full acceptance of collective and preventive measures Return to normal 12

13 13 Response from the intern. community From governments Bi- and multilateral pressures What did Switzerland? China in isolation From WHO Intern. reference Instrument of pressure Instrument of cooperation From internat. public opinion

14 Response from the private sector Early concerns Suspension of business travels Internal measures Limited repatriation of expatriates Sanitation Isolation of workers/compounds Control of movements Response from Swiss companies 14

15 15 Management of the crisis II: a success in prevention The virtues of systematic measures and mass actions Impact of an effective prevention worldwide Role of WHO Remaining challenges

16 16 Management of the crisis II: a success in prevention Political incidences (internal) Increase in visibility and credibility of the new leadership Focus on new political objectives : strenghtening of health system budget reallocations reinforcement of decision making and (crisis) management capacities

17 Economic impact of the crisis On short term: limited damage Affected sectors : tourism, hotels, civil transports, retail business Industr. and financ. sectors : limited impact Internat. trade: marginally affected Impact on national growth: limited On longer term : the real stake Possible strong impact on China s image Possible strong impact on China s economy 17

18 18 Open questions On the origin of the disease On an effective and fully recognised test On a possible vaccine On a secure treatment On elimination of SARS

19 Lessons learned Neither containment/control nor elimination of epidemics without internat. cooperation Monitoring, prevention, research, cure Internat. cooperation requires full transparency SARS: a management as much as a medical issue Immediate intervention is core to containment and control 19

20 20 Lessons learned (follow-up) In an interdependent world, epidemics implies : No exclusive national concern No exclusive national solution Integration in world community implies health obligations, alongs with legal, economic, political obligations Not to endanger international public health To fully cooperate with internat. institutions

21 21 Lessons learned Responsibility of states towards internat. community directly engaged

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