Sat, Aug 08, 2009 - Page 2 News List

DOH, MOE set to announce plan for potential outbreak

STAFF REPORTER, WITH CNA

New Department of Health (DOH) Minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) said yesterday that the department would announce by next Saturday regulations on the closing of schools in the event of an outbreak of influenza A(H1N1).

The DOH and the Ministry of Education (MOE) have reached a consensus on the school closure issue and decided to make a joint announcement more than two weeks before schools open on Sept. 1, he said.

The DOH said last week that it could propose a nationwide school shutdown in the event of a serious influenza A(H1N1) outbreak when schools reopen after the summer break.

Yaung said Taiwan would adopt measures that are stricter than those in the US.

“Our criteria will be more restrictive than those in the United States, where health authorities suggest that affected students stay home but schools need not close in the event of an A(H1N1) outbreak,” Yaung said.

The DOH would still ask affected students to stay home if they were infected, officials said.

Taking cues from other countries’ experience, Centers for Disease Control Director-General Kuo Hsu-sung (郭旭崧) said the centers had drawn up plans to contain the spread of the disease, particularly after local schools reopen in the fall.

“Campus flu infections are most likely to trigger community cluster infections, so we may advise the Ministry of Education to close all schools to contain a further spread of the virus,” Kuo said.

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