Wed, May 14, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Deputy mayor to investigate hospital outbreak


A tenant in the Huachang apartment complex in Taipei's Wanhua District signals after hearing that the government had announced an end to the quarantine yesterday.


The Taipei City Government announced yesterday that Taipei Deputy Mayor Pai Hsiou-hsiung (白秀雄) will head a special investigation into the possible mishandling of a SARS outbreak at Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital (和平醫院).

Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday revealed that the Bureau of Government Ethics had been looking into possible administrative errors made by the Bureau of Health and Hoping Hospital during the outbreak.

Ma said the investigation will be carried out by the ethics bureau and the Bureau of Personnel.

"To ensure that the public is getting a fair enquiry, we will also invite experts from outside the city government to join us. These experts will be chosen from three particular fields -- law, medicine and customer protection," Ma said.

Ma also said that it was for the external legal and supervising parties to determine whether the city government should be blamed for SARS infections in the city and promised to cooperate fully with all investigations.

The Taipei District Prosecutors' Office is also proceeding with legal investigations into the containment of the virus, focusing inquiries on the sacked superintendent of the hospital Wu Kang-wen (吳康文), dean of the Department of Infection Lin Jung-ti (林榮第), dean of the Department of Respiratory and Thoracic Medicine Lo Chih-peng (羅志鵬) and Superintendent of Jen Chi Hospital Liao Cheng-hsiung (廖正雄).

Meanwhile, residents in Hua-chang Public Housing Complex were released from home quarantine at midday yesterday.

The residents still have to wear facemasks and have their temperatures taken on a daily basis.

After health officials ruled two days ago that there was no danger of community transmission from Huachang, leader of the Cabinet's anti-SARS task force Lee Ming-liang (李明亮) told the city government it could decide by itself when to release residents from their four-day quarantine.

The city government had originally wanted to release residents earlier in the week but put plans on hold after two of the residents who had been moved to Chiho Public Housing Complex came down with high fevers.

However, on the advice of medical experts city officials passed on the good news to residents yesterday morning.

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