Press Release

Statement from the Department of Health and Children -SARS

Commenting today at the SARS media briefing, Micheál Martin TD, Minister for Health and Children said that the first meeting of the Interdepartmental Group on SARS took place in the Department of Health and Children today.

Chaired by Minister Martin, the Group comprised representatives of the Department of the Taoiseach; Finance; Transport; Marine, Communications and Natural Resources; Arts, Tourism and Sport; Agriculture and Food; Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Enviroment and Local Government; Foreign Affairs, the Office for Emergency Planning and the Government Information Service.

The Group were given an over-view of the current situation relating to SARS both nationally and internationally. Issues concerning travel and tourism were specifically addressed. The Group will meet again on Friday of this week. A number of bi-lateral meetings will take place between the Department of Health and Children and the other Government Departments over the coming days.

The Minister and his officials also met with the Chinese Ambassador this afternoon. They discussed a number of issues concerning SARS as it relates to the Chinese Community in Ireland. The Ambassador, on behalf of the Chinese Government expressed his hope to have a Chinese Team participate in the Special Olympic World Games and a number of the issues around that were discussed. There is ongoing co-operation between the Department of Health and Children and the Chinese Embassy in Dublin on a number of issues.