Fri, May 09, 2003 - Page 2 News List

Minister quarantines himself after SARS scare

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Vice Minister of the Interior Hsu Ying-shan (許應深) yesterday decided to quarantine himself at home because a person in home-quarantine he visited on Tuesday developed a fever on Wednesday.

"I am physically fine and my temperature is normal," Hsu said in a telephone interview. "I am doing this to make sure that I do not become a virus carrier, although I am not sick at all."

On Tuesday, Hsu, who is now a spokesman for the Cabinet's ad hoc severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) response task force, led a team of officials and reporters on a random visit to a Taoyuan resident, surnamed Chang, who is under home quarantine.

The visit was to make sure that home-quarantined people did not break the rule that states they are not allowed to leave their homes without authorization during the 14-day quarantine period.

However, on Wednesday, Chang and two TV reporters who were with Hsu during the trip to Taoyuan began to develop a fever. As a result, Hsu decided to home quarantine himself, starting from yesterday.

Meanwhile, during a meeting yesterday, the Taoyuan County Council refused permission for Taoyuan County Bureau of Civil Affairs Chief Liu Chih-ching (劉志清) and the bureau's Religion and Custom Division head Chiu Chin-fa (邱進發) to enter the council building and join the meeting because they were with Hsu on the Taoyuan visit.

Councilors asked Liu and Chiu to quarantine themselves at home as Hsu had done.

KMT Taoyuan County Councilwoman Liu Mao-chun (劉茂群) proposed that heads of the county government should not accompany any central government officials on such trips because the government needs them to remain healthy.

"We have to think about it seriously."

"Is it worth risking everybody's health to accompany central government officials on these kinds of dangerous trips? Is it necessary?" she asked.

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