The Ministry of Foreign Affairs raised the nation’s travel alert for Mexico to “red” as the number of suspected swine flu patients in the North American country kept rising yesterday.
A red alert means people should avoid all non-essential travel to Mexico until the crisis has subsided.
A yellow alert was issued for Canada and the US, with people traveling to these countries advised to exercise caution.
Taiwan’s representative office in Mexico City will continue to operate as usual, ministry spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) said.
Figures released by the Tourism Bureau showed that 78 Taiwanese tourists on a cruise tour were still on their way to Mexico yesterday.
Chen said three or four Taiwanese high school exchange students at King’s-Edgehill private high school in Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada, were among a group of 17 people who were quarantined amid concern that they might have contracted the H1N1 swine flu virus.
None of the 17 people was seriously ill, he added.
The ministry said 40 students from Taiwan were participating in an exchange program at the school.
The King’s-Edgehill School Web site said yesterday that four of its students had been confirmed to have contracted swine flu, and that some students had been released from quarantine.
At press time, the ministry remained unable to determine if the Taiwanese students were among the ones released from quarantine.
Liu Ching-jen (劉慶仁), director of the Ministry of Education’s Bureau of International Cultural and Educational Relations, said there were no Taiwanese students in Mexico.
“We have nonetheless urged officials at our representative offices in Los Angeles and Houston to alert Taiwanese students in the two cities because of their proximity to Mexico,” Liu said.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHELLEY SHAN AND FLORA WANG