Free Content The economic impact of SARS in Beijing, China

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Summary Objective 

To document the impact of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in Beijing on indicators of social and economic activity. Methods 

Associations between time series of daily and monthly SARS cases and deaths and volume of public train, airplane and cargo transport, tourism, household consumption patterns and gross domestic product growth in Beijing were investigated using the cross-correlation function. Results 

Significant correlation coefficients were found for all indicators except wholesale accounts and expenditures on necessities, with the most significant correlations occurring with a delay of 1 day to 1 month. Conclusions 

Especially leisure activities, local and international transport and tourism were affected by SARS particularly in May 2003. Much of this consumption was merely postponed; but irrecoverable losses to the tourist sector alone were estimated at about US$ 1.4 bn, or 300 times the cost of treatment for SARS cases in Beijing.

Keywords: People’s Republic of China; economic impact; leisure industry; losses; postponed consumption; severe acute respiratory syndrome

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1:  Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology State Key Laboratory of Pathogen and Biosecurity, Beijing, P. R. China 2:  Public Health Department, Capital Medical University, Beijing, P. R. China 3:  Health Policy Unit, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK 4:  Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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