The Taipei City Department of Health said yesterday that it has designated Taipei Hoping Hospital as the city’s anti-avian flu center of the city to handle possible cases and flu checkups, and called on the public to remain calm as the government enhances precautions following the outbreak of the new H7N9 strain of bird flu in China.
Department Commissioner Lin Chi-hung (林奇宏) inspected the fever screening station and negative-pressure quarantine beds in the hospital and said the hospital would be responsible for cases sent from Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) and screening for fevers.
“We will launch anti-avian flu service in more hospitals if necessary. At the moment, people should be cautious about the development of the flu, but should not panic,” he said.
The hospital opened an anti-avian flu center in 2005 to prevent the previous bird flu outbreak after its staff gained relevant experience during the SARS outbreak of 2003.
Lin said the department was taking an inventory of flu shots and other materials for avian flu prevention, and has notified all clinics and hospitals to be vigilant to prevent an outbreak.
As Taiwan steps up efforts to prevent an outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control has said that it would send staff to China to gain a better understanding of the possibility of human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 avian flu virus.
Lin said the Hoping Hospital would take in any suspicious cases from the airport. If any cases are confirmed to be infected with the flu, the hospital would send the patients to negative-pressure quarantine rooms for treatment.
According to the hospital, there are 77 negative-pressure quarantine rooms and 119 quarantine beds. The hospital has cleared five quarantine rooms for any confirmed cases.