Minister apologizes for text alert

WIDE RANGE::A text alert was supposed to be sent to residents living within 300m of Kaishan Borough, but the unit of distance was later changed to kilometers

By Hsieh Chun-lin and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Thu, Jul 11, 2019 - Page 2

Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) yesterday apologized for a dengue fever alert that was mistakenly sent to mobile phone users nationwide on Tuesday.

The alert was sent at about noon, warning residents of Tainan’s Kaishan Borough (開山) of an indigenous dengue fever outbreak in the area.

The message, signed by the Tainan City Government and the Centers for Disease Control, asked residents to take measures to prevent mosquito bites, routinely empty water containers and undergo an NS1 antigen test at a hospital should symptoms such as fever, headache, joint pain or rashes appear.

The alert was originally set up to be sent to residents within 300m of the borough, but the unit of distance was later changed to kilometers, Chen said during a visit to a summer camp for children in grades three to six organized by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lin Shu-fen (林淑芬).

Government agencies have been asked to review the issue and debug the system, he said.

The students were invited to the Legislative Yuan, which is on break, to experience what it would be like to be a lawmaker for a day.

They asked Chen questions about dengue fever outbreak, whether the government would be placing restrictions on sugary drinks, how to reduce the smoking population by half, whether all school lunches have been inspected, the government’s long-term care initiative and other topics.

While government policies are closely related to children, adults seem to refuse to discuss them with children, believing that they would not understand, Lin said.

She organized the camp in the hopes of looking at national policies from a child’s perspective, she said.

The camp, which seeks to help students understand how legislative committees operate, promote civic education and deepen children’s understanding of democracy, is also a realization of children’s right to express their opinion as protected by the Convention on the Rights of the Children, she added.