Thu, May 08, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Lien offers free advice for central government's war

EXAMPLE The KMT chairman said that the current regime could learn from how his party handled the situation after the 921 earthquake

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday said that the government should draw up prevention procedures soon to allow for local governments to keep in step with the central government in the nation's fight against the potentially fatal SARS.

"[Stopping] the spread of the SARS epidemic is more than a mere medical challenge but also one of the government's crisis-coping ability," Lien said.

"The government therefore ought to attach a high level of importance to the formulation of prevention procedures to keep government agencies from acting in frenzy and confusion [as they find ways to combat the disease]," said Lien at the party's weekly Central Standing Committee meeting yesterday.

Lien made the statement after listening to a report delivered by Yang Chih-liang (楊志良), former deputy director-general of the Department of Health, on how SARS-prevention policy should be readjusted to prevent community transmissions from happening.

Lien stressed the importance of communication in times of crisis by citing the example of what actions the KMT administration had to take in the wake of the massive 921 earthquake in 1999.

It is important for the government to strengthen its communication with local governments and set up a command center to enabling direct communication, said Lien.

"At times like this, the government must allow no room for people to act like chickens with their heads cut off," he stressed.

He noted that the nature of SARS prevention and control work is nationwide, and said that no one, including the KMT as a political party, should keep a away from all effort needed in combating the disease.

In related news, both the KMT and the PFP will jointly stage a two-hour fund-raising event tomorrow night in memory of Chen Ching-chiu (陳靜秋), a chief nurse at Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital who succumbed to SARS after being infected by patients with the disease.

Chen was the first local medical personnel to die from SARS.

Donations will go the education fund for children of front-line combatants of the contagion.

Officials said that the child dependents of "those who work first-hand with SARS patients" such as medical staff, hospital administration personnel and janitors qualify to receive grants from the fund.

They also said that the fund would not be managed or monitored by the KMT or the PFP but by a committee that is made up of members from media, religious and art arenas.

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