A Taipei city health official warned the media yesterday to heed the regulations on the prevention of communicable diseases and refrain from trying to contact people quarantined in their homes for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
Taipei City Bureau of Health director Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞) made the remarks after 23 new SARS cases were reported the previous day, among them a reporter who had contacted someone under home quarantine.
Chiou noted that half of the 23 new cases in Taipei the previous day were related to the Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital and the Jen Chi Hospital, both of which are sealed off for SARS quarantine.
Chiou noted that the purpose of home confinement is to block the transmission of the potentially deadly flu-like disease, adding that it is very dangerous for reporters to approach such people and warning them not to risk their lives for a story.
If journalists fail to follow the regulations, she went on, the department will fine violators between NT$10,000 and NT$150,000 (US$285-US$4,285) and put them under home confinement for quarantine themselves, as allowed for under the regulations.