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Press Release

Authorized Departure of Family Members and Non-Emergency Personnel from AIT

On May 9, 2003, the Department of State authorized the departure of family members and non-emergency personnel from the American Institute in Taiwan's offices in Taipei and Kaohsiung on a voluntary basis due to health concerns. The American Institute in Taiwan is responsible for U.S. unofficial relations with Taiwan.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - SARS - continues to be of great concern. In light of the uncertainties regarding how SARS is spread and the risks of the disease, as well as concern over AIT's ability to evacuate its employees and their families who may be affected, the Department of State has decided to take prudent steps to protect AIT employees and families.

The move to authorized or voluntary departure is a prudent measure that provides AIT and family members with the opportunity to relocate temporarily outside of Taiwan until the situation improves.

AIT has worked closely with U.S. Centers for Disease Control officers and Taiwan health authorities to better understand the risk to U.S. citizens in Taiwan. AIT will continue to work with, and support the efforts of, the recently established Taiwan SARS task force under the leadership of Dr. Lee Ming-liang to implement the measures necessary to limit the spread of SARS in Taiwan.

The American Institute in Taiwan remains open for business and will continue to provide normal public services.