Fri, Jan 31, 2020 - Page 3 News List

Virus Fears: China mum on evacuation plans: MAC

INACTION:Beijing should respond quickly to Taipei’s request to evacuate Taiwanese stranded in Wuhan if it really cares about their rights and benefits, a MAC official said

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng comments on Taiwanese stranded in Wuhan, China, at a news conference at the council in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Chung Li-hua, Taipei Times

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday said that Beijing has yet to respond to its request to evacuate Taiwanese stranded in Wuhan, center of a new coronavirus outbreak, as hundreds of Taiwanese have asked for government help to return home.

From Friday last week to yesterday noon, the Straits Exchange Foundation has received 252 calls for assistance, MAC Deputy Minister Chiu Chui-cheng (邱垂正) told a news briefing in Taipei.

About 400 Taiwanese still trapped in Wuhan have registered for help and asked for government assistance to return to Taiwan, he added.

A majority of the people asking for help are there on personal visits or short-term business trips, he said.

They have no permanent residences and are not familiar with the place, and have had difficulty getting access to medicine and medical aid, he said.

The council has proposed sending an airplane to evacuate them, among other options, he said.

If China is truly concerned about the rights and benefits of Taiwanese, it should respond to the council immediately, he said.

The council will make public any further developments, he added.

Asked about regulations on Taiwanese travelers bringing masks to China, Chiu said that the government’s willingness to work with China on disease prevention is predicated on Taiwan’s ability to safeguard its own people first.

Speaking about the outbreak earlier yesterday, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that if it is able to do so, Taiwan is willing to assist China.

Chiu also elaborated on a council statement asking Chinese students studying in Taiwan to delay their return, and that they would be housed together upon entry in Taiwan.

They are preventive measures and are not discriminatory in nature, he said.

Housing all returning Chinese students in one location is to guarantee the health and safety of all students, Chiu said.

The plan is to place each Chinese student in a separate room to prevent cross-infection, he added.

Chiu said similar policies are being adopted worldwide and Taiwan was not the exception.

As foreign students living in leased rooms and with no family to take care of them if they fall ill, the school is obligated to adopt preventive measures and to take care of the students, Chiu said.

Asked whether restrictions on Chinese spouses were too strict, Chiu said that Chinese spouses who visited Hubei Province would be quarantined for 14 days.

Chinese spouses who have not visited Hubei are advised to monitor their health and take preventive measures for 14 days, but they will not be quarantined, Chiu said.

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