Addressing online rumors, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said that an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan, China, is not known to resemble SARS, although lab tests are needed to clarify what virus is causing the infections.
Yesterday, a rumor spread online that the outbreak in Wuhan was a SARS-like infection, raising public concern.
The CDC announced that effective immediately, all flights into Taiwan from Wuhan would be boarded by CDC officials and inspected before passengers are allowed to leave the aircraft.
CDC Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩) said these are routine inspections and quarantine measures.
There are 12 flights per week from Wuhan to Taiwan and CDC inspectors would ascertain whether passengers are running a fever, coughing or breathing abnormally, Chou said, adding that passengers exhibiting symptoms would be detained and assessed.
Chou urged people to keep calm, dismiss any news from unverifiable sources and refrain from forwarding any such messages.
The CDC said that people who spread misinformation about diseases or epidemics can be fined up to NT$3 million (US$99,648) under the Communicable Disease Control Act (傳染病防治法), and people who spread misinformation leading to public unrest can be detained for three days or fined up to NT$30,000 under the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法).
While the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has not released an official statement, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission has, CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said.
“The statement says there are a total of 27 viral pneumonia cases, including seven with severe complications,” Lo said. “The main symptom in most cases was a fever and some had difficulty breathing. Pneumonia was detected through chest X-rays and they were all hospitalized in quarantined rooms.”
All of the Wuhan cases were linked to a local market, Huanan Seafood City, and two people have recovered and been discharged, Lo said, citing the statement from Wuhan’s health commission.
Fewer than 30 percent of the cases resulted in severe complications and, according to the health commission, there was no sign of human-to-human transmission, Lo said.
“If the health commission’s information is accurate, then there is a low chance that the infection is SARS,” he said.
However, lab tests would be run to identify the virus that caused the outbreak, Lo added.
Additional reporting by Lin Hui-chin
CLOSED FOR DISINFECTION: Two of the three local cases were linked to a cluster infection at a kindergarten, while the other case works at a McDonald’s restaurant The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported three new local COVID-19 infections and 11 imported cases, but no deaths. The local cases are two men and a woman aged between 20 and 80 who reside in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, the CECC said in a news release. Two of them are linked to a cluster infection at a kindergarten in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋), said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman. He said they are both associated with the mother of a kindergarten student, who was earlier confirmed to have
BIOLOGICAL AGENT: A containment exercise was held in southern Tainan, in response to a mock assault where troops were assumed to be attacked by bioweapons The live-fire component of this year’s annual Han Kuang military exercises, Taiwan’s major war games involving all military branches, began yesterday morning and is to run until Friday to test the armed forces’ capability to fend off a Chinese invasion. The 37th edition of the annual event officially began after the Ministry of National Defense’s Joint Operations Command Center, also known as the Hengshan Command Center, announced the initiation of the five-day live-fire drills. Yesterday’s drills were focused on testing the military’s preservation and maintenance of combat capabilities in the event of a full-scale Chinese invasion. As part of the drills, air force
WELCOME BACK: Foreign spouses or minor children of Taiwanese can now directly apply for a visa with representative offices overseas, the CECC said Regulations on applications for entry to the nation by foreign spouses or minor children of Taiwanese have been relaxed effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday, as it reported two new local and three imported cases of COVID-19. Deputy Minister of the Interior Chen Tsung-yen (陳宗彥), deputy head of the center, said the relaxation meant that such applications would be treated as general cases, instead of special ones that are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. “Considering the recent local COVID-19 situation and the needs of foreign spouses and children to visit their family in Taiwan, we are allowing Taiwan’s
PINGTUNG EXERCISE: The pilots tested their ability to land on the 24m-wide provincial highway, preparing for a scenario in which dedicated airstrips are damaged Emergency landing and takeoff drills for military aircraft were held on a provincial highway for the first time early yesterday as part of Taiwan’s Han Kuang military exercises, testing the ability of pilots and aircraft to land on narrow roads were airstrips to be damaged. The drill began at 6:30am on a 2.26km section of Provincial Highway No. 1 linking Pingtung County’s Jiadong (佳冬) and Fangliao (枋寮) townships. An Indigenous Defense Fighter, an F-16V, a Mirage 2000-5 and an E-2K early warning aircraft participated. The planes landed on the highway in that order at 6:30am, 6:32am, 6:34am and 6:36am before taking off at