Trade office reopens
The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei (CTOT) has resumed its normal service as of yesterday following a brief suspension of visa and immigration application services relating to SARS outbreak, CTOT said yesterday. "The safety and security of our staff and the public remains the CTOT's top priority. The temporary suspension of visa and immigration application
services, which began May 6th 2003, was necessitated by preventative measures relating to SARS," CTOT said in a press release. Some 25 of the office's 65 staffers had been under home quarantine after a locally hired employee was hospitalized with symptoms of SARS last Monday night. The CTOT became the first foreign representative office or embassy in Taipei to be directly affected by the SARS outbreak.
Japan Asia cuts flights
Affected by a plunge in the number of passengers as a result of the spread of SARS, Japan Asia Airways (JAA) announced yesterday cuts in its flights to Taiwan, starting later this month. A JAA spokesman said that the aviation company has decided to slash its flights between the Kansai area and Taipei from 14 weekly flights to just seven during the period from May 26 to June 30. He added that flights between Tokyo and Taipei will also be reduced to 14 flights per week from the current 24. The Japan Airlines Cargo system, to which the JAA belongs, also announced cuts in China-bound flights on 16 routes and temporary suspensions of 11 routes to overseas destinations amid the SARS outbreak.
Video systems used
The Ministry of the Interior said yesterday that it has installed video monitoring systems in more than 300 households under SARS home quarantine. He said that based on a priority list provided by the Taipei city and county governments of 470 people under home quarantine, the ministry started to install the monitoring systems in 373 homes a day earlier than planned. Four people in three households refused to have them installed, while nine people were not at home when the technicians called. Yu said he would suggest that the local government hand out the maximum fines of NT$300,000 (US$8,570) to the potential disease-spreaders. Based on the list, there are still 210 households in which the monitoring systems have not yet been installed.
Chen to thank armed forces
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is scheduled to deliver a speech today to express his gratitude to the armed forces for their contributions to the ongoing battle against SARS, an official from the Presidential Office said yesterday. In his speech, Chen will thank the army for its participation in the disinfection work in Taipei City and will direct the armed forces to be on the alert against SARS, according to James Huang (黃志芳), director of the Public Affairs Department of the Presidential Office. A total of 1,210 soldiers from the 6th Army Corps riding on 50 T486 light chemical vehicles and 10 five-ton chemical pumpers, started the disinfection work Monday in the Wanhua District of western Taipei, where two hospitals have been sealed off because of mass transmissions of SARS. They were supported by 500 military police, who helped keep order, and 450 police officers who helped direct traffic.