Fri, May 23, 2003 - Page 3 News List

Two MOFA staffers cleared of SARS after fever reports

By Monique Chu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Two staffers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs developed fevers earlier this week, triggering a shock wave at the ministry building although the two were later diagnosed as having problems unrelated to SARS, sources said yesterday.

The two were identified as Lin Chin-hsiung (林金雄), deputy director of the ministry's Department of West Asian Affairs, and driver Li Shou-kang (李壽康), who worked for R.C. Wu (吳榮泉), executive secretary of the ministry's congressional liaison office, officials said.

Doctors said both Lin and Li are not infected with SARS, but ordered both to stay at home, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新) yesterday.

"To play it safe, Wu will be staying at home for a 10-day rest," Chien added.

"Once we found these two staffers had developed a fever ... we were quite nervous, too," Chien said. "The underground parking lots were shut down for sterilization for one night because of the driver's fever."

When contacted by phone yesterday, both Lin and Wu said they were doing fine at home.

Lin said he played golf in the rain on Sunday, although later the next day his body temperature reached 38?C when he was at the ministry.

The physician at the ministry's clinic then ordered Lin to return home immediately, and his body temperature stayed around 37.3?C around 3:30pm yesterday, Lin said.

According to Wu, Li's body temperature reached 38?C yesterday. But the Tri Service General Hospital, after a series of check-ups, said Li was merely suffering from enterogstritis and thus ordered him to return home after the examination.

Both Lin and Wu were absent from a swearing-in ceremony yesterday.

Lin was to take up the post as Taiwan's top representative in Bahrain, while Wu's new post is to head the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Atlanta.

National policy adviser Lee Tsai-fang (李在方) was sworn in as the new representative to South Korea yesterday.

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