Free circular line rides end
Starting tomorrow, passengers would no longer be able to travel free of cost on the Taipei MRT metropolitan rail network’s new circular line and would instead be charged regular fares, Taipei Rapid Transit Corp said. Rides have been free on the line since it officially opened on Jan. 31, but the concession period ends today. Starting tomorrow, passengers on the line would be charged the regular fares and would obtain the usual discount when transferring to a city bus or YouBike, the firm said. At MRT Banqiao Station, where the circular and Bannan lines intersect, transfers made from one line to another within 20 minutes would not incur an additional fee, although it is an “out-of-station” transfer point, it said. The same applies to transfers at MRT Xinpu Station, the company said, adding that people using single-journey tokens must exit through a designated gate to qualify for the free transfer.
FDA issues recall of Pitavol
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday issued a recall of all Pitavol 2mg tablets after tests found that the drug exceeded limits when stored for more than two years. The drug’s manufacturer reported the issue after discovering that residual impurities after two years exceeded limits, the agency said. More than 4 million tablets are expected to be recalled, the FDA said, adding that as it is a class 2 recall, it had only notified unions, hospitals and clinics, and listed the drug on the recall section of its Web site. Pitavol is used to treat primary hypercholesterolemia and mixed dyslipidemia, the FDA said, adding that patients should not stop taking their medication. If patients are worried, they should consult their doctor about similar medication, it said.
Man tests positive for Zika
A Taiwanese man who last month returned from Thailand has been confirmed to have the Zika virus, Taiwan’s first imported infection this year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said on Tuesday. The man, in his 40s, lives in northern Taiwan and returned from a vacation in Thailand on Jan. 30, CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) said. Between Feb. 6 and Feb. 11, the man visited a hospital several times, complaining of a sore throat, rash and pain, Lin said, adding that doctors suspected that he had dengue or Chikungunya fever, but he tested negative for both. It was not until Tuesday, when he no longer had symptoms or was contagious, that the man was confirmed to have contracted the Zika virus, Lin said. None of the man’s relatives who traveled with him to Thailand have exhibited symptoms, Lin said, adding that the neighborhood where the man lives has been disinfected.
Temple bans incense use
Longshan Temple (龍山寺), one of Taipei’s oldest and most popular temples, yesterday announced that it would ban the burning of incense from March 13 due to environmental and health concerns. The ban is an expansion of the temple’s candle-burning ban introduced in May last year to improve air quality, and after a fire devastated the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral. Wu Meng-huan (吳孟寰), an official at Taipei’s Xia Hai City God Temple (霞海城隍廟), said that his temple has no plans to ban the burning of incense. Xia Hai City God Temple first reduced the use of incense and incense burners about 20 years ago, but if any further change was made it would probably consider limiting worshipers to burning one incense stick each instead of the current three, he added.
An improvised protective device for use when intubating patients designed by Taiwanese doctor Lai Hsien-yung (賴賢勇) is being adopted in the Philippines to help doctors there stay safe amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “We made this acrylic aerosol box for my sister Dra. Frances Legaspi for Antipolo Doctors Hospital. Credits to Dr Lai Hsien-yung for the concept and design,” Anton Legaspi, whose family owns a business that makes customized designs, said on Facebook on Monday. The hospital is in Antipolo, about 25km east of Manila. Legaspi’s post was accompanied by several photographs of the box and a short demonstration video
Nearly 60 percent of Kaohsiung residents polled said that they would vote to recall Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), think tank Taiwan Brain Trust, which conducted the survey, said yesterday. A petition to recall the mayor is undergoing a second review and if it is passed, a vote is to be held in the latter half of June. Of those polled, 69.7 percent said that they would participate in a vote, while 56 percent said they would still participate if there was a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 infections. The data showed that, irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic, Han would likely
FALSE INFORMATION: The report quoted the mother of a British woman quarantined in Taiwan as saying that her daughter and the daughter’s partner are ‘in prison-like conditions’ A BBC report that quotes Britons’ complaints about quarantine conditions they experienced in Taiwan is not true, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, expressing regret over damage done to the nation’s reputation for competent disease-prevention measures. The BBC report published on Wednesday quoted the mother of a British woman quarantined in Taiwan as saying that her daughter and the daughter’s partner were quarantined on Wednesday last week and are being kept “in prison-like conditions.” “The room is filthy. She has no hot water and nowhere to wash her clothes,” the mother was quoted as saying, without naming the location of
ODD TIMING: Taiwan has called Chinese drills around the Taiwan Strait provocative and urged Beijing to focus on combating COVID-19 rather than harass its neighbor China yesterday accused the US of playing a dangerous game with its support for Taiwan, after a US warship passed through Taiwan Strait. China has been angered by the administration of US President Donald Trump stepping up support for the nation, such as through more arms sales, US patrols near Taiwan and last month’s visit to Washington by former premier and vice president-elect William Lai (賴清德). US Seventh Fleet spokesman Lieutenant Anthony Junco said the guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell conducted “a routine Taiwan Strait transit” on Wednesday, in line with international law. “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment