BANGKOK -- Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra declared Thailand free
of SARS in an April 19 radio address.
"We've controlled it very well, and now we have no SARS patients
in Thailand," Thaksin told the nation.
Thailand, with a population of 58 million, had seven probable
cases and two SARS-related deaths, according to the World Health
The country's proximity to China, Hong Kong, Singapore and
Vietnam, where SARS has been a problem, and its inclusion on tour
packages to Southeast Asia contributed to a drop in bookings
Until SARS, Thailand was reporting good news, according to
statistics compiled by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
The number of U.S. visitors to Thailand rose more than 5% in
2002, to just over 555,000, about 6% of Thailand's 10.8 million
foreign visitors last year. -- J.S.
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