A command center was put into commission yesterday by the Taichung City Government to integrate medical resources in the central part of the country to best prevent large-scale SARS infections from happening in the region.
The Executive Yuan's anti-SARS campaign leader Lee Ming-liang (
"We will try to prevent the area surrounding Taichung from falling victim to SARS. The disease might spread to the region from Kaohsiung or Taipei," Lee said.
"Even if the worst happens, we now have the faculty to handle it," he said.
The command center has power to control distribution of medical resources in the central region, which includes five municipalities and counties.
The head of the center is China Medical College Chairman Tsai Chang-hai (蔡長海), who was selected for the position for his active participation in the prevention of SARS in the city over the past two months.
A hospital affiliated with the China Medical College reported the first SARS-related death in the county.
Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), who was reported to be unhappy about certain arrangements for the command center, initially did not plan to attend the ceremony, but did make an appearance.
Hu stressed that the command center might have come a little late.
"But as people say, it is better late than never. The command center's activation means that the central government does take prevention against SARS as a war. A war needs dividing the country into different war zones. Each war zone has its own commander," Hu said.
DPP Legislator Chien Chao-tong (
"Some hospitals have not held SARS drills for the purpose of saving medical resources," Chien said.
In days to come, the country's attention might be on whether the central region will remain one of the safest and cleanest places in the country or will suffer from a heavy strike from the contagion, as some government officials are predicting.