Sun, May 11, 2003 - Page 3 News List

New Party seeks 10-day shutdown for Taipei City

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

New Party Taipei City Coun-cilors yesterday urged the government to completely seal off the capital for 10 days in a bid to control the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

However, the extreme proposal was seen as unworkable by city authorities and other councilors across the party line.

New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming (郁慕明) said on Friday that although isolating Taipei City from the rest of the world and halting the movement of its residents for 10 days may be seen by some as draconian, it is the best way to counter further transmissions of the potentially deadly virus.

Yok said that during the 10-day period all schools and public buildings would be shut down, with only those facilities deemed necessary for the provision of necessities allowed to function on a limited basis

"People are very worried about SARS because no one is sure who is carrying the virus," Yok said. "The most effective way to avoid SARS carriers is to let healthy people go through a short-term quarantine."

New Party Taipei City Councilor Fei Hung-tai (費鴻泰) said, "Many of my constituents have complained to me saying it is like waiting for death.

"Why not take a more positive step and stop all unnecessary movement by staying home for 10 days to let the disease subside," Fei said.

However, the proposal raised by the tiny party, which does not have any representatives outside of Taipei City Council, was widely seen by other city councilors as too difficult to carry out.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青) said the proposal to cordon off the city is not only unworkable, but also rather disturbing.

"Before the so-called community infection in the Wanhua District can be confirmed, there is no need to take such measures to limit people's daily activities," Hsu said.

"If Taipei City was sealed off then the place would be even more chaotic, as can be seen by the situation at the Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital after it was sealed off last month," Hsu said.

Hsu, who holds a master's degree in health and welfare policy from National Yangming University, said, "At the moment, most of the SARS cases are derived from Hoping Hospital.

"What we need to focus on now is how to control the spread of disease by anyone having contact with the hospital, not to get paranoid about the disease," Hsu said. "People should lead a normal life as much as possible."

PFP city councilor Lee Hsin (李欣) said the New Party proposal means well, but is almost impossible to carry out.

"No other country in the world would consider such a plan, including the most badly hit," Lee said. "It is not necessary yet for Taiwan to do so."

This story has been viewed 3011 times.
TOP top