Enterovirus strikes schools
The number of enterovirus cases in Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市) reported in recent weeks has far surpassed the number seen at the same time last year, according to health officials from the two cities. Taipei health officials said the number of enterovirus cases reported by schools over the past three weeks was 291, 307, and 216, respectively, eight times higher than during the same period last year. A total of 81 classes have been suspended in the city during the period, compared with four during the same three weeks last year. In New Taipei City, health officials reported the suspension of 120 classes due to enterovirus cases. Data from the Centers for Disease Control said that as of Tuesday last week, health offices around Taiwan had reported 24 cases of serious complications from enterovirus infections, compared with no such cases last year at this time.
It’s firefly season
The firefly season in Nantou County begins today as the distinctive insects start breeding. The central county harbors many firefly habitats in its scenic tourist areas, such as Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), Huisun Forest Farm (惠蓀林場), Tao-Mi Eco-village and Lugu (鹿谷) and Sinyi (信義) townships, county officials said. The Sun Moon Lake National Scenic Area Administration will be offering its annual firefly guided tours at 7pm from today until May 6. Only 40 people are allowed to join each group, to avoid damage to the natural surroundings, and the destination of the tours is kept secret from the public until the day of the tour, an official said.
Kenting coral spawns
The coral on the reef in Kenting National Park has spawned on time this year, according to an official with the Taiwanese Coral Reef Society. Tsai Yung-chun (蔡永春) said he and several others spotted two kinds of coral laying eggs on Wednesday night, and four kinds the following night. Tsai is one of the people commissioned by the park to observe the spawning, which usually takes place on about the 23rd day of the third month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which fell on Friday this year. Because of the unseasonal weather, Tsai said, the spawning had come one month later than the past two years. Tsai said his records show that over 30 of the 400 kinds of coral around Kenting have spawned in the past 20 years.
Domestic violence falls
The total number of the nation’s reported domestic violence cases last year decreased slightly for the first time in six years, government statistics showed yesterday. A total of 104,315 cases were reported last year, a 0.8 percent decline from 2010’s figure of 105,130, the Ministry of the Interior said. Cases of domestic violence involving divorcees or adult partners accounted for 54.4 percent of total reported cases, with 24.7 percent involving children, 17.88 percent other individuals, and 3.06 percent violence against senior citizens, the ministry said. The ministry attributed the slight year-on-year decline to fewer domestic violence cases reported among adults, but added that the number of domestic child abuse cases has been increasing in recent years. Domestic violence cases reported in marriages, civil partnerships or by divorcees numbered 56,734 cases last year, a decline of 10.9 percent compared with 2005, the ministry said. However, the number of cases involving children last year increased to 25,740, up 10.4 percent from six years ago, it added.