E-payment discount to end
The Taipei Rapid Transit Corp board yesterday approved a proposal to cancel a 20 percent discount for tickets purchased using electronic payment cards. The Taipei City Government approved the plan last month, and needs to give it the final approval after the board’s decision. Instead of the discount policy, the company is to introduce a loyalty reward program, which would offer cash rebates when a rider swipes their card at an MRT gate, it said. Passengers riding the MRT 11 to 20 times per month would receive a 10 percent rebate in the following month, and an increase of 5 percent for every additional 10 rides, the company said, adding that those who ride 51 times or more per month would receive a rebate of 30 percent. The new policy is to take effect on Feb. 1, it said.
Experts arrive in Wuhan
Two Taiwanese health experts have arrived in Wuhan, China, to learn more about a pneumonia outbreak that has left one person dead and infected more than three dozen, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday. The experts arrived in the city late on Sunday and are expected to stay there for two days under the guidance of local health officials, CDC Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said. As of Sunday, 41 cases had been confirmed in the city, seven of whom were in a critical condition, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The WHO has designated the novel coronavirus as 2019-nCoV and has urged all countries to improve public awareness and adopt self-protection measures against it.
Couriers mull labor action
Foodpanda couriers are mulling whether to go on strike on Thursday to protest the company’s decision to cut delivery fees. Several social media posts by the couriers expressed displeasure over the company’s announcement on Friday last week that the delivery fee per trip would be reduced from NT$70 to NT$60 from Thursday. The couriers expressed anger that the food delivery platform made the decision without consulting them, with some urging coworkers online not to take orders on Thursday in protest. Foodpanda on Sunday said the rate change aims to offer its couriers a more stable income, as they would be able to deliver more orders per hour. It would continue to engage in dialogue with its couriers to discern their views on the changes, the company said. Taiwan Labour Front secretary-general Son Yu-liam (孫友聯) supported a strike, saying that Foodpanda cannot unilaterally change the contract.
Minister mum on career
Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) yesterday refused to disclose his next career move following the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) victory in Saturday’s presidential and legislative elections. Lin was credited for helping DPP legislative candidates’ campaigns in Taichung, where he served as mayor from 2014 to 2018. The most notable result was winning two seats in the city previously held by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidates — three-term lawmaker Sheng Chih-hwei (沈智慧) and two-term lawmaker Yen Kuan-heng (顏寬恆) — for the DPP’s candidate, Zhuang Ching-cheng (莊競程), and Taiwan Statebuilding Party challenger Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟) respectively. The victories caused local Chinese-language media to speculate that Lin might again run for Taichung mayor in 2022.
Tainan City Councilor Lu Kun-fu (盧崑福) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday sparked further controversy when he echoed remarks by KMT caucus whip Alex Fai (費鴻泰) that Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) should be executed for an increase in domestic COVID-19 cases. Chen heads the Central Epidemic Command Center. Lu at a question-and-answer session at the Tainan City Council said that a lapse in disease prevention measures at China Airlines, which has led to a cluster infection, could have been controlled. However, as the airline’s pilots were allowed a shortened quarantine period of three days and were placed
SUFFICIENT SUPPLY: Taiwan has an abundance of pandemic-related goods in storage, and protocols have been implemented to ensure that the supply chain is not broken Hordes of customers descended on hypermarkets and supermarkets in Taipei and New Taipei City after the government yesterday raised the COVID-19 alert level for the two municipalities to level 3 until May 28. Earlier in the day, the Central Epidemic Command Center reported 180 new domestically transmitted cases, most of them in Taipei and New Taipei City. Despite the government urging the public to stop hoarding daily necessities, shelves were stripped bare while cashiers were working as fast as they could. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) at a news conference on Friday detailed the government’s inventory of masks, medical-grade isopropyl alcohol and protective clothing,
‘STAY CALM’: The nation has more than 800 million masks in stock and can produce up to 40 million a day, while hand sanitizer stocks are also sufficient The nation has an ample supply of masks to meet demand amid concerns over an increase in the number of domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Tuesday. Taiwan has more than 800 million masks in stock, with daily production of 18.3 million units on average and maximum daily capacity of 40 million units, the ministry said on Facebook. The ministry’s assurance came after Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), on Monday said that the nation has entered the community transmission stage after several new domestic
EYES AND EARS: The navy has commissioned the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology to manufacture radars to upgrade the nation’s naval monitoring stations A military enthusiast yesterday posted photographs of Taiwanese F-16 jets taking off from Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu with two refueling aircraft, presumably returning to Taiwan from the US for upgrades. Asked about the matter, the Ministry of National Defense declined to comment. The jets had been part of training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and had briefly landed in Honolulu, where the photographer, Aeros808, had spotted them, a source said. The jets did not land in Guam, which had been done in 1996 when the US Air Force delivered F-16s to Taiwan, the source said, adding that the