Drivers to wear masks
In order to prevent the further spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Taiwan, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said yesterday that all bus and taxi drivers were required to wear masks on duty. The MOTC yesterday dispatched 3,000 masks to transport service companies for emergencies. Companies that fail to carry out the measure, officials said, would be ordered to suspend business, MOTC officials said. "The new measure is taken to ensure the safety of not only passengers but also the drivers," said James Chen (陳晉源), director-general of the ministry's department of railways and highways. When the measure would be lifted remained uncertain, Chen said. Owners of transportation service companies said yesterday passengers would be also encouraged to wear masks when taking vehicles.
CKS numbers hit new low
The number of passengers passing through the CKS International Airport dropped to a new low on Wednesday of 9,440, due to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). That was 13 fewer people than the day before. An airport official said yesterday there were only 4,228 arrivals and 5,212 outgoing passengers on Wednesday. The airport usually serves 50,000 passengers per day. The numbers have been dropping ever since the government suspended tourist visas for people from Hong Kong and Macau and put all incoming passengers from SARS-affected areas in quarantine.
Philippine visitors on list
Travelers from the Philippines will be subject to the entry restrictions applied to visitors from regions affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) starting today, Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday. The ministry made the announcement one day after the World Health Organization's listed Manila as a SARS-affected area. Visitors from the Philippines will be prohibited from traveling to Taiwan except for limited exceptions, which will be determined on a case-to-case basis. People traveling from Manila on official business, including those who hold diplomatic or courtesy visas, or those who have been granted permission to enter the country by the ministry, are not required to hold a boarding permit. Whether such travelers will face quarantine or other measures will depend on their temperature upon arrival.
More students in quarantine
Possible exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has forced 29,528 students to be confined to their homes as 53 schools around the nation have been completely or partial closed for a maximum of two weeks, according to the Ministry of Education. Ministry statistics released yesterday showed that there were 11 probable, 35 suspected and 21 other SARS-related cases involving students or teachers. The ministry has ruled that the entire class and its teacher must stay home for observation if one student or teacher is found to have symptoms of SARS. When two cases are found in one school, the school must be completely closed for two weeks. Some legislators have urged the ministry to consider giving students in Taipei a two-week quarantine "vacation."