KMT to hand out bleach
The KMT will start supplying free bleach in Taichung City today to help control the spread of SARS. A party official said the bleach, which can be used as a disinfectant, will be distributed to citizens free through eight KMT service centers in Taichung City. In a social-service program to help control the contagious disease, the Taichung branch of the KMT began to supply free thermometers to residents in the city a few days ago.
Government to send masks
The Japanese government has sent 3,000 masks for use by Japanese citizens in Taiwan amid a worsening outbreak of SARS there. The government is also considering whether to provide medical aid, including sending doctors or supplies to Taiwan, Minister of Health Chikara Sakaguchi said. There have been no confirmed cases of SARS in Japan. Global health officials have said there is no need for people to put on masks as they go about their daily business, even in areas hard hit by SARS such as Taiwan or Hong Kong. But people with respiratory infections can wear masks to avoid infecting others, and health care workers or anybody in close contact with SARS patients are advised to wear masks and take other precautions.
TAS quarantine ends
The mandatory home quarantine for teachers and staff members of the Taipei American School (TAS) ends today, although they will still have to wear face masks when outside for the next few days. According to a message on the TAS Web site, the school received written confirmation on Monday from the Department of Health (DOH) regarding the end of the quarantine period. The statement said the DOH is requiring those finishing their quarantine to wear face masks through Sunday when they are outside their homes and DOH officials will continue to check their temperatures. The kindergarten teacher who fell ill last week with suspected SARS was released from the hospital on Monday afternoon.
■ United States
Group sends WHO sympathy
A US pro-democracy group yesterday voiced its sympathy for Taiwan which remains cut off from full participation in the World Health Organization (WHO). The China Support Network (CSN) pointed out that "at this time, it appears that Taiwan may be barred from a May 19 meeting of 190 nations and organizations, with severe acute respiratory syndrome at the top of the agenda." "Beijing may be accused of playing politics with death, and the WHO may be accused of being scandalously pliant in sacrificing Taiwan's health to avoid offending Beijing's sensitivities," the organization said. The WHO officially considers Taiwan to be a province of China. "Every international organization seems to have an unstated first premise: Don't offend the Chinese. At the World Health Organization, it is taking precedence over health," CSN director John Kusumi said.
Hospital denies rumors
Tri-Service General Hospital denied rumors of cross-infection within the hospital yesterday. Four hospital employees have been reported as possible SARS cases. The hospital, after checking shift records, learned that the four had not come in to contact with each other, it said.