Human lives are being endangered as Asian nations put economic considerations first in their response to the region's bird flu crisis, World Health Organization (WHO) officials said yesterday. \n"Economics and agriculture are weighing too heavily in decisions taken by governments, and more concern should be given to the risk to human health," said Bjorn Melgaard, the WHO's representative in Thailand. \nSeveral of the 10 Asian nations hit by bird flu have been criticized for attempting to cover up the outbreaks in an attempt to protect their agricultural sectors and tourism industries. \n"The bottom line is, economic considerations are what dictate the responses of the governments trying to ensure the consequences of avian flu outbreak is minimized," Melgaard said. \n"That's understandable, but it's more important that sufficient measures are taken to prevent humans from catching the disease," he said. "In a situation like this, human health must receive the highest priority." \nThe deadly H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus has killed at least 19 people in Asia, including five in Thailand and 14 in Vietnam, but so far health experts believe humans have been infected only through contact with sick birds. \nHowever, the Geneva-based WHO has warned that H5N1 could kill millions across the globe if it combines with a human influenza virus to create a new, highly contagious strain transmissible among humans. \n"It can be anticipated that human cases will also be detected in other countries where outbreaks in poultry are spreading," the WHO said in a statement posted on its Web site. \nGovernments around the world have slapped import bans on poultry from countries struck by bird flu, and although health experts agree with most restrictions -- especially on the transport of live birds -- they say that eating properly cooked chicken meat and eggs poses no danger.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
THAI CASE UPDATE: Twenty-nine close contacts of the worker have been tested with two types of tests, including 18 dorm mates, with 28 negative results so far Five imported cases of COVID-19, four from the Philippines and one from Hong Kong, were reported yesterday, bringing the total confirmed cases in Taiwan to 467, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday. The four returning from the Philippines were on the same flight, and the local health department has identified 15 people who had direct contact with them — including 10 passengers in the two rows in front or behind them, who have been put under 14-day home isolation, and five crew members, who will practice 14-day self-health management, said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang