Major Singapore IT event cancelled due to SARS

The annual CommunicAsia IT conference and exhibition, due to take place in late June in Singapore, has been cancelled by the organizers because of continuing concern over the regional outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

It was not possible to reschedule the event for later in the year as there are a number of other big IT and electronics events already planned for those months, Singapore Exhibition Services (SES) said in a statement Thursday.

SES said that as the SARS outbreak in Asia had not stabilized, exhibitors and visitors had expressed concerns about their safety at the shows. It appeared likely that visitor numbers would have been severely reduced in the light of World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel warnings. The next CommunicAsia will be held in June 2004, SES said in the statement.

Singapore reported 17 new suspected cases of SARS Thursday, and the government has placed 2,890 people under home quarantine to date.

Several large IT and electronics shows are scheduled for the region over the next few months.

Vietnam IT Forum 2003 & Vietnam Computerworld Expo 2003 will be held in Ho Chi Minh City from July 9 to 12 . Vietnam is the first country to have apparently contained SARS, with no new cases reported in the last 20 days, twice the incubation period of the disease.

The Beijing International Radio, TV & Film Equipment Exhibition is scheduled to be held from August 26 to 29 in Beijing. Media on Thursday reported that Beijing hospitals are in danger of being overwhelmed by new cases of SARS in the city. The city reported 101 new SARS cases yesterday and nine deaths.

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