■ TravelMOFA to relax restrictions
The government decided to relax entry restrictions on visitors from SARS-affected areas starting from tomorrow, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced. Visitors from areas with reported local transmission of SARS intending to visit for business, funerals, medical treatment or other emergencies will be allowed to enter the country as long as they present medical indicating that they are SARS free certificates when applying for visas, the ministry said. But the government will continue to issue tourism visas to visitors from these areas, the ministry said. The ministry made the announcement following a decision by the Cabinet-level SARS Prevention and Relief Committee. The government suspended the issuing of visas to visitors from SARS-affected areas on April 28.
CKS numbers rising
CKS International Airport recorded a total of 7,109 arrivals and departures on Friday, up 322 from Thursday's figures, according to statistics released yesterday by airport authorities. Friday's figures -- 3,160 arrivals and 3,949 departures -- represents an increase of 1,434 from a historical low of 5,675 posted last Monday. There were a total of 169 airplane landings and takeoffs on Friday at CKS, with an average of 42 passengers on board each flight.
Medical staff face measures
The Immigration Bureau under the Ministry of the Interior announced yesterday the implementation of a requirement effective immediately that medical personnel wanting to go abroad must first provide a fit-to-travel certificate. The certificate, which must be issued by the traveler's own medical institution, has to certify that the traveler has not been in close contact with any SARS patients within the last 10 days. The implementation of the requirement was prompted by the case of a Mackay Memorial Hospital doctor who traveled to Japan earlier this month and then tested positive for SARS after returning to Taiwan.
■ Czech Republic
Prague tightens restrictions
Czech authorities have adopted stricter controls to prevent the spread of SARS, among them introducing the compulsory quarantine of travelers arriving from Taiwan, according to press reports yesterday. The Dnes newspaper quoted the head of Prague's health services as saying that two Czech students had been placed in quarantine on Friday for around 10 days after returning from Taipei, despite showing no symptoms of the disease. Prague health chief Vladimir Polanecky told the newspaper that all passengers arriving from areas identified by the World Health Organization as SARS-affected would be subject to quarantine.
Yu pays respects to doctor
Premier Yu Shyi-kun went to the mortuary of a Kaohsiung military hospital yesterday where the body of a doctor who died from SARS was being held. Yu paid his respects to the late Lin Yung-hsiang (林永祥), a young doctor at Chang Gung who fell ill after caring for a SARS patient. Yu expressed his condolences to Lin's mother and presented her with a check for NT$10 million (US$288,184) as compensation from the government. The premier later inspected the construction site of a temporary fever-detection clinic in Kaohsiung.