MOI official ends quarantine
Vice Minister of the Interior Hsu Ying-shan (許應深) yesterday ended his home quarantine because the patient suspected of carrying severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) he has visited earlier was diagnosed with regular flu instead. Hsu showed up at Premier Yu Shyi-kun's resident for a midnight meeting yesterday but his arrival surprised reporters at the scene because he was supposed to be in the middle of his home quarantine. On May 6, Hsu led a team of officials and reporters on a random visit to a Taoyuan resident, surnamed Chang, who was under home quarantine. However, the next day, Chang began to cough and develop a fever and was sent to the hospital. Hsu then decided to quarantine himself on May 8. On Thursday, the Department of Health confirmed that Chang had contracted flu and his illness had nothing to do with SARS.
■ United States
LA donates more masks
Organizations of overseas Chinese in the greater Los Angeles area donated 35,000 surgical masks on Friday to help control the outbreaks of SARS in Taiwan. An official with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles said the masks will be distributed through the Commission of Overseas Chinese Affairs in Taipei to hospitals and clinics in Taiwan. China Airlines will bring the masks to Taipei tomorrow free of charge. This is the second batch of SARS-prevention masks given by overseas Chinese in Los Angeles in a week. They donated 51,000 masks on May 5.
Cashier confirmed `probable'
Taipei City Bureau of Health Director Chiu Shu-ti (邱淑媞) said yesterday that a cashier in the Pacific Sogo Department Store has been confirmed as a probable SARS case. The source of her infection is still unknown, Chiu said. The Sogo staff member fell ill last Sunday, prompting the store to send 175 employees into home quarantine. Meanwhile, following reports of two Sogo customers suspected of contracting SARS, Chiu said three other shoppers who recently visited Sogo were reported to have SARS-like symptoms.
Trip to dentist turns sour
A 63-year-old man in the southwestern Taiwanese county of Yunlin never expected that a trip to the dentist would result in stomach surgery. Cable TVBS, quoting an unnamed dentist, reported yesterday that a senior citizen, who recently went to see a dentist to have one of his teeth pulled, swallowed a sharp injector head when he suddenly had a fit of coughing after the dentist injected his gum. The man was later rushed to a nearby hospital and it took surgeons almost two hours to remove the 3cm-long injector head from his stomach without hurting his other organs, the TV station said.
TECO grateful for resolution
The director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in New York thanked the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives on Friday for its recent passage of a resolution backing Taiwan's efforts to join the World Health Assembly (WHA) as an observer. Andrew Hsia (夏立言) expressed his deep appreciation and stressed that the Pennsylvania House's resolution showed the grave US concern for the threat of SARS in Taiwan.