The National Immigration Agency (NIA) announced late on Saturday that restrictions on Chinese business visitors would be eased, with the duration of stay extended to one month from 14 days. NIA Deputy Director-General Ho Jung-chun (何榮村) said the relaxation was part of amended regulations governing visits by Chinese business executives and professionals promulgated by the Ministry of the Interior the previous day. Ho said Chinese citizens made about 80,000 business visits to Taiwan last year. Previous regulations stipulated that local companies with an annual turnover of less than NT$30 million (US$917,400) were eligible to host a maximum of 15 Chinese business visitors annually. Under the new regulations, that number was raised to 45. The number of Chinese business visitors that local businesses with annual turnover of NT$30 million or more can host each year has been raised to 200 from the initial 50.
Two new A(H1N1) cases
The Central Epidemics Command Centers (CECC) announced two imported A(H1N1) cases yesterday, bringing the total number of cases in Taiwan to 19. “Case 18” was a 32-year-old Taiwanese female who had returned to Taiwan following a trip to Australia. Her husband was also listed as a possible swine flu case and quarantined. He displayed symptoms of the illness, CECC spokesman Shih Wen-yi (施文儀) said. “The rest of the tour group — 13 people altogether — as well as 29 passengers who shared a flight with “Case 18” and sat in close proximity to her, were asked to monitor their health and report to the Centers for Disease Control if they developed flu-like symptoms,” he said. “Case 19” was a 15-year-old boy of US nationality who arrived in Taiwan from Utah with his mother after transits in Los Angeles and Tokyo, Shih said. As the boy’s mother displayed symptoms of the flu, she was quarantined and listed as a suspected case, Shih said, adding that six people who came in close contact with the boy were asked to stay home and monitor their health.
Group wants free vaccines
The government should consider including many vaccines needed by children in the national health insurance plan as many parents with young children find vaccine shots expensive, the Taiwan Immunization Vision and Strategy (TIVS) alliance said. Citing a poll conducted last month, TIVS secretary-general Lee Bing-ying (李秉穎) said that while 67.7 percent of respondents said that as a result of the economic downturn they were more reluctant to bring their children to clinics for vaccine shots, 92.9 percent of parents nevertheless paid for the service. “While [parents] worry about money, they still pay to ensure their loved ones are protected,” Lee said.
Taipei targets graffiti
Taipei City will crack down on graffiti on public property and redouble efforts to keep the city clean. Individuals found to have arbitrarily defaced public property will face fines of up to NT$6,000, Department of Environmental Protection officials said yesterday. The city made the decision after workers had trouble cleaning graffiti done with certain types of markers or spray paint and had to spend considerable sums of money to get it off walls and other venues. The government advised graffiti enthusiasts to practice art at designated areas.
The chief mechanic in an air force unit from which an F-16 and its pilot went missing last week died on Sunday evening in what might have been a suicide, the Ministry of National Defense said yesterday. The ministry in a statement confirmed media reports that the mechanic, surnamed Huang (黃), “hurt himself” at a military barracks. Huang was taken to Hualien Armed Forces General Hospital after he was found unresponsive in the barracks, but doctors could not revive him, the ministry said. Huang served in the 26th Tactical Fighter Group of the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing, the same unit as the missing
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) last night said that it had no comment about reports that a senior US Navy officer had arrived in Taipei for a visit. Several media outlets reported that Rear Admiral Michael Studeman, director of intelligence of the US Indo-Pacific Command, arrived at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) on a special charter flight at about 7pm. The schedule of a “senior US official” in Taiwan would not be made public, the ministry said in a news release, without confirming the visit or the official’s identity. Interactions and exchanges between Taiwan and the US are common, and visits
‘VIRUS DIPLOMACY’: The nation’s expertise in handling COVID-19 was among the reasons that it should not be excluded from the WHO, the European Parliament said The European Parliament this week passed resolutions that support Taiwan’s bid to participate in the WHO and its intention to negotiate a trade pact with Taiwan. During its plenary session from Monday to Thursday, the parliament approved resolutions on the foreign policy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and the EU’s trade policy, parts of which were viewed as friendly toward Taiwan by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a statement yesterday, the ministry welcomed the passage of the resolutions and thanked the parliament for its support for Taiwan. In the first resolution, the parliament cited Beijing’s increasing threats to Taiwan, the crackdown on
NON-TYPICAL: Apart from Atsani, storms in autumn missed Taiwan, rainfall has been lower and average temperatures have been higher, a CWB forecaster said The current water shortage is expected to worsen in the next few months, with the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday forecasting a colder, dryer winter than normal. With winter starting next week, the bureau at a media briefing outlined the expected conditions through February and reviewed autumn’s significant weather events. Weather Forecast Center director Lu Kuo-cheng (呂國臣) said that autumn this year had three major characteristics: First, 13 tropical storms and typhoons formed from September to this month, up from 11 in the same period last year, Lu said. Apart from Atsani, for which sea and land alerts were issued in Taiwan, the tropical