Newborn catches enterovirus
The Department of Health yesterday said a five-day-old boy in a hospital had contracted severe enterovirus this month, becoming the youngest such patient in recent years, but is now in a stable condition. The baby was infected with the Coxsackie B3 virus, said Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), director of the Epidemic Intelligence Center at the Centers for Disease Control. It is suspected that the baby caught the virus from his pre-school-aged brother during a visit, Chuang said. The brother had been admitted to hospital with bronchitis, tonsilitis and symptoms of enterovirus, Chuang said. Newborns are particularly vulnerable to the Coxsackie B3 virus, he said, urging people to wash their hands before touching babies. Enterovirus infections occur all year round, he said, although the types of virus may vary. The department has confirmed 153 severe cases of enterovirus infection so far this year, 149 of which were the enterovirus 71 strain that caused two fatalities.
MND committed to reforms
Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesman Major General David Lo (羅紹和) yesterday said the ministry would carry out reforms in accordance with the national defense law. The ministry’s policy was to keep a balance between combat requirement, affordable finances and the number of personnel available, he said, adding that the objective was to build a concise and high quality military. The main strategy for the military was to hold back attempted landings by the Chinese military, he said. According to a ministry proposal, the current 275,000-strong military would be downsized to 215,000 in 2015, while the number of generals would be reduced from 379 to 268 at the same time.
Customs pact inked with US
Taiwan and the US on Monday signed a pact to recognize each other’s supply chain security standards, paving the way for quicker and more convenient customs clearance. Acting representative to the US Jacob Chang (張大同) and Barbara Schrage, managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan, signed the pact on behalf of the Directorate-General of Customs and the US Customs and Border Protection. Under the pact, those certified as authorized economic operators (AEO) in Taiwan enjoy speedy customs clearance under the US Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism system, and registered US businesses get the same treatment in Taiwan. Taipei implemented the AEO system in 2009 and more than 500 enterprises have joined the program.
TFCF opens Kyrgyz branch
The Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (TFCF) opened its second overseas branch earlier this month in Kyrgyzstan, TFCF chairman Lin Po-rung (林柏榕) said this week. Kyrgyzstan is the world’s seventh-poorest nation, Lin said. Nearly 60 percent of the people live in poverty and 22 percent of children aged five and younger die of malnutrition, he said. Up to 40 percent of children aged 16 and below have been forced to drop out of school and join the workforce, Lin said. The service center will help handle donations from Taiwan and will provide direct services to children, Lin said. TFCF executive director Miguel Wang (王明仁) recently returned from a trip to Kyrgyzstan, where he visited government officials and schools, and presided over the branch’s opening ceremony. Wang called on the public to donate money to help poor children in Kyrgyzstan.