Friday, September 23, 2005

Have no Fear . . .

At least have no fear of Effect Measure going to dead air, or dead fiber optics or whatever, I am here.

Thanks to Abby for this tip. (And she's off to DC this weekend, to her credit.)

Of course the Indonesian government has powerful economic incentives to downplay any risk of a dangerous epidemic for as long as it can.

JAKARTA (Dow Jones)--Indonesia is bracing for reduced tourism revenues in the short term due to public concern about the country's ongoing H5N1 avian influenza outbreak, Minister of Tourism Jero Wacik said.

"I think for the short term, it will disturb tourism because people will worry about (avian flu contagion), especially domestic tourists," Wacik told Dow Jones Newswires.

"But for foreign tourists, the impact isn't too big yet."

Wacik didn't provide specific details about the potential financial impact of H5N1 on tourism, which contributes around 5% of Indonesia's total annual gross domestic product.

But a rise in the H5N1-related human death toll in Indonesia would compound the tourism sector's financial misery as it continues to recover from a downturn prompted by a series of terrorist bombings since 2002, and the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003.

We must also remember that the WHO is dependent on voluntary cooperation from member governments, which it is not going to get if it starts to give them publicity they do not want. So we have to expect that the news we get from WHO and the countries where there are developments of concern will be very restrained. Read between the lines, is my advice.