The Taipei County Government fined a toy store NT$60,000 (US$2,000) on Friday for violating regulations on the prevention of enterovirus infection.
It was the first fine issued by the county government since its health bureau earlier this month barred children under the age of five from entering public play areas over concerns that this could help spread the potentially lethal virus.
During a surprise inspection on June 21, health officials spotted a three-year-old boy playing in a special zone for children in the Tom Dragon Castle toy store inside the Banciao (板橋) branch of the Far Eastern Department Store in Taipei County.
“As none of the employees tried to dissuade or prevent the boy from entering the area, we fined the firm NT$60,000,” a health official said.
Suspected and confirmed enterovirus cases have been reported in recent weeks in Taipei County.
The official said that in the past week, 50 to 130 suspected cases of severe enterovirus were reported by elementary schools, kindergartens and daycare centers.
“As the numbers indicate, the outbreak has yet to subside and we must be vigilant,” the official said.
Also on Friday, the county government added cram schools to the list of institutions obliged to report suspected enterovirus cases to the health bureau. Prior to that decision, only elementary schools, kindergartens and daycare centers were required to do so.
The enterovirus enters the body through the gastrointestinal tract and thrives there. The virus is the most common cause of septic meningitis and can cause serious illness, especially in infants and those with compromised immune systems.
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