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
‘NOT AN INCH’: The president said after incursions by Chinese warplanes that there should be very smooth collaboration between the executive and military branches President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday said that Taiwan would not budge “an inch” on issues of sovereign territory and would stalwartly defend its democratic freedoms. Tsai made the remarks during an inspection of surface-to-air missiles at an air force base in Hualien. She was accompanied by National Security Council (NSC) Secretary-General Wellington Koo (顧立雄), Minister of National Defense Yen De-fa (嚴德發), Chief of the General Staff Huang Shu-kuang (黃曙光) and Republic of China Air Force Commander Hsiung Hou-chi (熊厚基). After attending a briefing, Tsai was given a demonstration of procedures for a missile launch. Tsai granted the base a one-time subsidy to boost troop
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the