The government has banned the import of birds and any related products from South Korea, where an outbreak of bird flu has forced farmers to slaughter tens of thousands of chickens and ducks this week. \nCouncil of Agriculture officials yesterday urged Taiwanese bird farmers to be alert to the arrival of migratory birds from the north. South Korean authorities suspect migratory birds might have caused the disease outbreak in their country. \nOn Wednesday, the council's Animals and Plants Inspection and Quarantine Bureau announced a ban on the import of birds and any related products from South Korea to block possible channels of transmission. \nYesterday, bureau officials said that a more challenging task would be monitoring migratory birds because wild birds could bring various viruses into this country. \n"A risk of domestic fowl being infected by migratory birds returning from the north cannot be ruled out entirely," said Chen Yu-hsin (陳雨新), director of the Animal Inspection Department. \nChen said farm owners should take emergency measures to prevent migratory birds and wild fowl from entering henhouses or warehouses in search of food. \nMost migratory birds wintering in Taiwan depart from Siberia and pass over the Korean Peninsula or Japan on their way here. \nAccording to the bureau, it has been confirmed that the outbreak in South Korea was caused by the H5N1-strain of avian influenza. The H5N1 strain killed six people in Hong Kong in 1997 and 1998. \nSo far, the people working at affected farms in South Korea appear unaffected but Seoul authorities have sent lab samples to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further examination and to see if the strain in South Korea is the same as the deadly one in Hong Kong. \nChen said that the bureau would step up its routine monitoring of migratory birds -- projects that are carried out by professional bird-watching groups -- and examine the excrement of migratory birds in habitats in Taipei, Ilan, Changhua, Tainan and Kinmen. \nChen said Coast Guard Administration personnel will assist with the monitoring work. \nOn Thursday, bureau Director Chiang Yi-nan (江益男) urged people heading to Hong Kong, China and South Korea not to visit chicken farms in those areas. If such a field trip is unavoidable, travelers are urged to wait at least one week after returning home before setting foot on a domestic farm. \nThe bureau has established an emergency mechanism which would be triggered if a case of avian influenza is reported. This would include slaughtering all animals raised within 3km of affected farms.
The One Bear Museum in Hsinchu County’s Guansi Township (關西), a teddy bear museum once touted by the county government as a “luminous pearl” along Provincial Highway No. 13, is facing possible closure. The museum’s building, which was provided by the county government, has a serious water leakage problem and lacks a parking lot for buses to bring in tour groups, Hsinchu County Councilor Lo Shih-shi (羅仕琦) said on Saturday. The county government should step in to rescue the museum, or the negative reviews about the museum on the Internet might affect visitors’ impression of the township and the county, he said. The
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
Peggy Chen (陳佩琪), wife of Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), yesterday said that the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) claim that Taiwan had warned the WHO about possible human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 was “far-fetched.” The US on April 9 said that the WHO had put politics first and ignored Taiwan’s early warning in December last year, which the WHO denied the following day. The WHO said that it received an e-mail from Taiwanese authorities on Dec. 31 last year, but that “there was no mention in the message of human-to-human transmission.” Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the CECC,
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity