H1N1 virus not detected
The influenza A (H1N1) virus that has left more than 100 people dead in India since last month has not been detected in animals in Taiwan, the Council of Agriculture said yesterday. The flu strain, which carries both avian and swine influenza virus genes, has not been found in migrant birds or in any fowl in the nation, said Huang Kuo-ching (黃國青), deputy director-general of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine. “We have consistently kept a close eye on avian flu,” Huang said. “Despite the presence of the H1N1 virus in poultry, it is not the strain that has caused the outbreak in India.” The new strain of H1N1 virus, most commonly known as swine flu, caused a global pandemic in 2009 and has shown signs of returning in India. The Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare confirmed over the weekend that there have been 708 confirmed swine flu cases nationwide since last month and that 132 people have died. In the Delhi area alone, 154 H1N1 cases have been reported, with four deaths, the Indian ministry said.
NTU announces candidates
National Taiwan University (NTU) on Sunday announced a shortlist of six candidates in its presidential search that started in June last year. They include National Science Council Minister Cyrus Chu (朱敬一), dean of the NTU College of Medicine Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池) and the former president of the National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, Yang Yeong-bin (楊永斌). NTU vice president Lo Ching-hua (羅清華), former NTU vice president Bau Tzong-ho (包宗和) and former dean of the NTU College of Management Hung Mao-wei (洪茂蔚) are the others. A successor is being sought for NTU president Lee Si-chen (李嗣涔), who will step down on June 22 when his term is due to end, NTU said.
Temperatures set to drop
An approaching cold air mass is expected to send temperatures across the nation plunging today, especially in northern areas, the Central Weather Bureau said yesterday. Temperatures could drop today by about 10°C in the north to between 13°C and 17°C, but the cold weather could begin to ease off again by Thursday, the bureau said. Today and tomorrow, temperatures of between 15°C and 20°C can be expected in central areas, and 14°C and 23°C degrees in southern areas of the nation, according to the bureau. It also forecast increased chances of rain in northern and central Taiwan until the weekend.
Holiday travelers increase
The number of people traveling to and from Taiwan during the Lunar New Year holiday showed a significant increase this year, the National Immigration Agency said yesterday. More than 1.2 million travelers were recorded between Feb. 8 and Sunday, marking a 10 percent increase from a year earlier, according to figures released by the agency. The highest single-day figure was on Sunday, with a passenger volume of 143,344 at airports and seaports, said Lin Hung-chieh (林弘傑), an official with the agency’s Border Affairs Corps. Of that number, more than 109,000 were at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, according to the figures. The average number of travelers exceeded 100,000 per day over the Lunar New Year period.