The Kaohsiung Department of Health yesterday called on taxi drivers who picked up passengers from the Westerdam cruise ship at Kaohsiung Harbor on Feb. 4 to report to the department after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 among the passengers who disembarked in Cambodia on Friday was reported on Saturday.
The Westerdam, operated by Holland America Line, was carrying 1,455 passengers and 802 crew when it departed from Hong Kong on Feb. 1 and was scheduled to arrive in Yokohama, Japan, on Saturday after a 14-day cruise.
However, it spent two weeks at sea after it was later turned away by five ports in Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand, over fear that there might be cases of COVID-19 among those onboard.
On Feb. 4, the ship made a one-day stop at Kaohsiung Harbor, where passengers took taxis to visit sightseeing spots in the city.
The Westerdam was allowed to dock at a port in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, on Friday, with passengers allowed to disembark.
However, an 83-year-old American woman who flew to Malaysia on Friday tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the first confirmed case among those from the ship.
Department specialist Pan Chao-ying (潘炤穎) said that taxi drivers who took passengers from the Westerdam should report to the city’s health department or the Kaohsiung Transportation Bureau to complete a disease investigation survey.
The bureau is also looking for taxi drivers who took such fares, Pan said.
The Centers for Disease Control sent quarantine officers to board the ship when it docked in Kaohsiung and prevented 38 passengers with a fever from disembarking, he said.
Detailed information, such as whether the woman reported to have the disease had left the ship in Kaohsiung on Feb. 4, as well as where passengers were taken in the city, would have to be provided by Malaysian authorities upon request from the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), he said.
While the department would cooperate with the CECC and disinfect high-risk infection areas, it hopes the taxi drivers would come forward and monitor their own health conditions for suspected symptoms, Pan said.
In other developments, the Ministry on Education on Saturday said it has begun delivering thermometer guns, rubbing alcohol and masks to schools nationwide.
It has prepared 25,000 thermometers, 84,000 liters of alcohol and 6.45 million masks for schools, kindergartens, cram schools, after-school programs and other facilities, the ministry said.
The masks are to be used in cases of emergency, or when students or teachers exhibit symptoms such as a fever or cough unexpectedly while on campus, it said.
The supplies are expected to arrive before classes resume on Tuesday next week, it said.
Additional reporting by Sherry Hsiao and CNA
CAMBODIAN CON: The two men filmed videos with made-up content with a focus on purported human trafficking, beatings and sexual assaults by scammers Cambodian authorities yesterday sentenced two Taiwanese to two years in prison and a NT$30,000 fine each for staging a kidnapping in the southern coastal city of Sihanoukville which they live streamed online. Chen Neng-chuan (陳能釧), 31, and Lu Tsu-hsien (魯祖顯), 34, were convicted of inciting and causing social disorder a day after Cambodian police officials convened a news conference about their arrest. Chen, who goes by the online name “Goodnight Chicken” (晚安小雞), and Lu, known by the handle “Anow” (阿鬧), must each pay 4 million riels (US$982), according to a court filing. The court said the duo arrived in the Cambodian capital, Phnom
TAKE PRECAUTIONS: Never hike alone and prepare food, water and appropriate equipment for Taiwan’s mountains, particularly in the winter, officials said Two mountain hikers were rescued yesterday, a day after a body was airlifted out of Yushan National Park, one of several deaths related to mountaineering or hiking in the past two weeks, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday. A Nantou County mountain rescue team called for a helicopter while responding to a call yesterday morning. They said a woman surnamed Chen (陳), 31, and a man surnamed Lin (林), 32, got lost in the mountains around the Batongguan Historic Trail (八通關古道), while traveling west toward Dongpu Township (東埔). They were directed to a nearby alpine meadow, where the helicopter landed with four
‘CORRECT CALL’: The navy said the captain was right to send crew out to fix an issue with a buoy, and that the buckles connecting two of them to the safety line came loose Equipment and environmental reasons, not human error, were to blame for the loss of three submariners on Dec. 21 last year, the navy said yesterday. The navy would not punish any of the Hai Hu’s (海虎) crew after an investigation determined that the captain was correct in sending crew to retrieve a safety buoy, it said in a news release. Three crew members — a master chief petty officer surnamed Lin (林) and two petty officers surnamed Yen (顏) and Chang (張) — are still unaccounted for after being swept from the submarine’s deck by a wave while trying to retrieve the
Individual tourists who arrive in Taiwan from tomorrow are eligible to receive limited-edition lucky bags to mark the Lantern Festival, Tourism Administration officials said yesterday. The Lantern Festival-themed lucky bags each contain a Year of the Dragon red envelope, a mini lantern, a NT$300 coupon for an amusement park ticket and a NT$500 Taiwan PASS coupon, the officials said. To get a lucky bag, visitors must present a passport or residence certificate and proof of their date of entry at a tourism center at either terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) or Kaohsiung International Airport, they said. The