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
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: A US Air Force KC-135 tanker came less than 1,000 feet of an EVA plane and was warned off by a Taipei air traffic controller, a report said A US aerial refueling aircraft came very close to an EVA Airways jet in the airspace over southern Taiwan, a military aviation news Web site said. A report published by Alert 5 on Tuesday said that automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) data captured by planfinder.net on Wednesday last week showed a US Air Force KC-135 tanker “coming less than 1,000 feet [305m] vertically with EVA Air flight BR225 as both aircraft crossed path south of Taiwan” that morning. The report included an audio recording of a female controller from the Taipei air traffic control center telling the unidentified aircraft that it was
A series of discussions on the legacy of martial law and authoritarianism are to be held at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this month, featuring findings and analysis by the Transitional Justice Commission. The commission and publisher Book Republic organized the series, entitled “Escaping the Nation’s Labyrinth of Memory: What Authoritarian Symbols and Records Can Tell Us,” to help people navigate narratives through textual analysis and comparisons with other nations. The four-day series is to begin on Thursday next week with a discussion between commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠), Polish-language translator Lin Wei-yun (林蔚昀), and Polish author and artist Pawel Gorecki comparing
MOVING OUT: A former professor said that rent and early education costs in Taipei are the nation’s highest, which makes it difficult for young people to start families The population of Taipei last year fell to the lowest in 23 years due to high rent, more transportation options and the expansion of northern cities into a single metropolis, academics and city officials said on Monday. Data released this month by the Ministry of the Interior showed that the capital was home to 2,602,418 people last year, down 42,623 from 2019. The decline is second only to 1993, when the population fell by 42,828 people, while Taipei’s population was the lowest it has been since 1997. Taipei saw the biggest drop among the six special municipalities, while Taoyuan led the group in
A legislator yesterday called for authorities to investigate the sale of Chinese-made, Internet-connected karaoke machines containing “propaganda songs.” Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said she was approached by a person who had discovered Chinese patriotic songs such as My Motherland (我的祖國) — which is commonly referred to as China’s “second national anthem” — in Chinese-made karaoke devices sold in Taiwan. The machines are popular, as they can connect to the Internet, providing access to thousands of songs, she said. One retailer, who asked to remain anonymous, said that the machines first entered the local market about three years ago, starting with