Fri, May 02, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Cabinet funds ease SARS losses

CONDOLENCE MONEY The families of the deceased will get grants of NT$100,000 each, quarantined persons will be paid and affected industries are to be subsidized

By Melody Chen  /  STAFFF REPORTER

The Executive Yuan announced yesterday that it would give NT$100,000 condolence money to every family who had lost loved ones to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

Cabinet spokesman Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) announced the measure after an inter-ministerial meeting convened to discuss the impact of SARS.

In order to encourage people to cooperate and comply with health authorities' quarantine measures, Cabinet has decided to give the quarantined consolatory money, quarantine leave and payment subsidies, Lin said.

Besides giving condolence money to families of the deceased, the Cabinet has decided that the quarantined will also receive consolatory money of NT$5,000 each, according to Lin.

"Those who are issued domestic quarantine notices and have actually abided by the quarantine rules will be granted NT$5,000 each.

"Those who are put under group quarantine and those who are isolated for treatment will also be given NT$5,000 each," Lin said.

As for employees who are put under quarantine by health authorities, their employers have to grant them paid leave and pay their salaries as usual.

However, the employers can apply for subsidies from the Council for Labor Affairs (CLA) to pay their employees' salaries, Lin said.

Self-employed workers who are quarantined by health authorities can apply for subsidies from their labor insurance program.

Besides, soldiers, civil service workers and teachers will be given leave if they are quarantined, according to Lin.

Those whose livelihoods are affected by their quarantine can apply for emergency aid in accordance with the Law of Public Assistance (社會救助法), he added.

Lin said local county and city governments will be setting up agencies to handle consolatory money, quarantine leave and payment subsidies, to be coordinated by the Ministry of the Interior and the CLA.

Meanwhile, Ho Mei-yueh (何美玥), vice chairwoman for the Council for Economic Planning and Development, announced the distribution of a Cabinet NT$50 billion package for the combating of SARS to governmental agencies.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) received the bulk of the package, roughly NT$16.8 billion, according to Ho.

Ho said the MOTC was the most severely affected by the epidemic, as it had to subsidize transportation agencies, particularly airlines, and tourism.

The MOTC will be using the money mainly to implement preventive measures on sea, air and land means of transportation and subsidize workers' salaries in the tourism sector, said Ho.

The Department of Health, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Education will be the other major beneficiaries of the package, Ho added.

Premier Yu Shyi-kun, who presided over the inter-ministerial meeting, has urged people to avoid visiting the sick in hospitals in order to reduce the chances of being infected with SARS, according to Lin.

Lin said Yu also urged all workers in both the public and private sectors to regularly check their temperatures in order to protect their own and other people's health.

Lin quoted Yu as saying the government will purchase a large amount of surgical robes for hospitals to use.

"The purchase aims to relieve health workers of any concerns that they may lack robes and to help hospital staff be fully committed to their work," Lin quoted Yu as saying.

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