E-payment discount to end
The Taipei Rapid Transit Corp board yesterday approved a proposal to cancel a 20 percent discount for tickets purchased using electronic payment cards. The Taipei City Government approved the plan last month, and needs to give it the final approval after the board’s decision. Instead of the discount policy, the company is to introduce a loyalty reward program, which would offer cash rebates when a rider swipes their card at an MRT gate, it said. Passengers riding the MRT 11 to 20 times per month would receive a 10 percent rebate in the following month, and an increase of 5 percent for every additional 10 rides, the company said, adding that those who ride 51 times or more per month would receive a rebate of 30 percent. The new policy is to take effect on Feb. 1, it said.
Experts arrive in Wuhan
Two Taiwanese health experts have arrived in Wuhan, China, to learn more about a pneumonia outbreak that has left one person dead and infected more than three dozen, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday. The experts arrived in the city late on Sunday and are expected to stay there for two days under the guidance of local health officials, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said. As of Sunday, 41 cases had been confirmed in the city, seven of whom were in a critical condition, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The WHO has designated the novel coronavirus as 2019-nCoV and has urged all countries to improve public awareness and adopt self-protection measures against it.
Couriers mull labor action
Foodpanda couriers are mulling whether to go on strike on Thursday to protest the company’s decision to cut delivery fees. Several social media posts by the couriers expressed displeasure over the company’s announcement on Friday last week that the delivery fee per trip would be reduced from NT$70 to NT$60 from Thursday. The couriers expressed anger that the food delivery platform made the decision without consulting them, with some urging coworkers online not to take orders on Thursday in protest. Foodpanda on Sunday said the rate change aims to offer its couriers a more stable income, as they would be able to deliver more orders per hour. It would continue to engage in dialogue with its couriers to discern their views on the changes, the company said. Taiwan Labour Front secretary-general Son Yu-liam (孫友聯) supported a strike, saying that Foodpanda cannot unilaterally change the contract.
Minister mum on career
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday refused to disclose his next career move following the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) victory in Saturday’s presidential and legislative elections. Lin was credited for helping DPP legislative candidates’ campaigns in Taichung, where he served as mayor from 2014 to 2018. The most notable result was winning two seats in the city previously held by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidates — three-term lawmaker Sheng Chih-hwei (沈智慧) and two-term lawmaker Yen Kuan-heng (顏寬恆) — for the DPP’s candidate, Zhuang Ching-cheng (莊競程), and Taiwan Statebuilding Party challenger Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) respectively. The victories caused local Chinese-language media to speculate that Lin might again run for Taichung mayor in 2022.
UNDER INVESTIGATION: Huang’s body was found just outside the bathroom and showed no signs of a struggle, and no alcohol or drugs were found Singer and actor Alien Huang (黃鴻升) was found dead at his home in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) yesterday. He was 36. Huang was also known by the nickname Xiao Gui (“little ghost”). His body was found when his father went to check on him after being unable to reach him by telephone, and called emergency services to the house at 11am, the Taipei City Police Department said. Huang’s body, which was discovered just outside the bathroom, showed no signs of a physical struggle, and he appeared to have been dead for some time, police said, adding that no drugs or alcohol were
CONFIRMED IN PHILIPPINES: The CECC would conduct contact tracing for the migrant workers to determine if they had come into contact with elderly people or children Six Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning home from Taiwan, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a case of imported COVID-19 infection, bringing the number of confirmed cases in Taiwan to 500. Philippine authorities reported four of the cases through the National IHR Focal Point, while the other two were reported by the company that they had worked for in Taiwan. The six — five women and one man — are aged from their 20s to 40s, and worked as in-home care workers, domestic workers, factory workers and sailors in Taiwan, said Minister of Health and
The COVID-19 pandemic might not have originated from a seafood market in Wuhan, China, National Taiwan University College of Public Health professor Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. While many countries are experiencing second waves of COVID-19 infections, many are also lifting lockdowns to revive their economies, allowing travelers to cross national borders, Chen said. Academics have been questioning whether genetic mutations in the novel coronavirus in different countries have made it more infectious, he added. Academics from different backgrounds have conducted phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences, he said, adding that the studies can help scientists understand how the virus spread among
The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) yesterday said that it has allocated NT$68 million (US$2.32 million) to build an Internet-of-things (IoT) platform that would facilitate proactive maintenance of the railway system and enhance service punctuality. The agency said that it decided to build the platform to promote horizontal communication among its departments after an investigation into the Puyuma Express derailment in October 2018 found that its four main departments — electrical engineering, rolling stock, construction and transportation — failed to share information with one another. The platform would use artificial intelligence to analyze maintenance data collected by its departments, including railway crossings,