The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is seeking to clarify a decision by Italian authorities to ban flights from Taiwan, as a novel coronavirus outbreak first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan spreads around the world.
After Italy on Friday confirmed two 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) cases, it suspended all flights from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Macau until April 28.
The ban affects Taiwan-based carriers China Airlines (CAL) and EVA Airways.
CAL operates three flights per week between Taoyuan and Rome, while EVA was set to start direct flights to Milan on Feb. 18.
CAL said late last night that Italian aviation authorities had approved its request to send an airplane to Rome today to fly Taiwanese passengers back home the following day.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said in a statement on Friday that Italy has not restricted flights from other nations that have reported more infection cases than Taiwan; therefore, its ban on Taiwan cannot be said to be related to the rate of infection in Taiwan.
The Italian government made a wrong decision based on wrong identification, she said.
The ministry is seeking to clarify the situation with the Italian government through its overseas offices and like-minded countries, she said, urging Rome to rectify its decision soon.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kao Chia-yu (高嘉瑜) yesterday said that it is unfair that Taiwan has met the same treatment as China, even though Taiwan has better healthcare and disease prevention standards, as well as control over the virus’ spread compared with other countries.
In related news, the Hanoi government last night lifted a ban on flights between Vietnam and Taiwan, reversing a decision it made yesterday afternoon, when it revoked permits for flights from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Additional reporting by Reuters and Cheng Wei-chi
A proposal by the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) to permanently ban sitting in Taipei Railway Station’s main hall has received a mixed reaction online, with some social media users vowing to launch a sit-in at the station. Gatherings at the hall have been prohibited since Feb. 29 in accordance with the Central Epidemic Command Center’s policy of reducing crowd sizes in public places. A Facebook user organizing the sit-in said that the hall is a public space and there is no legitimate reason to ban sitting on the floor. He said he suspected that the proposal was made due to business considerations and
Chinese over-the-top (OTT) service provider iQiyi cannot register as a provider in Taiwan after the Mainland Affairs Council declared it to be an illegal service, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday. Both iQiyi and WeTV were deemed to be illegal Chinese OTT operators in an interdepartmental meeting on Friday last week, officials said, adding that this prohibits them from marketing their services in Taiwan or seeking subscribers. The government plans to block a local server that iQiyi has been using to transmit content to domestic audiences, which would disrupt its content transmission. OTT Entertainment Ltd, which is enlisted by iQiyi to
The Taipei Grand Mosque yesterday said its earlier decision to cancel Eid al-Fitr celebrations on Sunday to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan would stand, even though there have been no new domestic cases of COVID-19 in more than a month. It will be the first time in 60 years that the event has not be held at the mosque. The Ministry of Labor had asked all mosques to suspend Eid al-Fitr celebrations and prayers this year, due to COVID-19 concerns, and encouraged Muslims to pray at home. This year Ramadan began on April 23 and is to
KAOHSIUNG VOTE: A city official allegedly wrote a message calling on supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu not to participate in the vote next month Prosecutors on Wednesday initiated an investigation of Kaohsiung Civil Affairs Bureau Director-General Tsao Huan-jung (曹桓榮) for allegedly telling supporters of Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) to interfere with a recall vote against Han, while pan-green politicians denounced the mayor and his team for devising ways to obstruct voting. After receiving complaints from residents, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors’ Office launched its probe of Tsao for alleged breaches of the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法). Complainants provided evidence that Tsao on Saturday last week wrote on messaging app Line that Han supporters should not vote in the June 6 recall vote, saying: