Academia Sinica yesterday closed its sports center and five museums on its campus in Taipei’s Nangang District (南港) after one of its staff was confirmed to have COVID-19.
In a notice on its Web site on Friday, the nation’s top academic research institution said that 16 people who had direct contact with the person are under home quarantine, while an additional 25 people who worked on the same floor are undergoing 14-day self-health management at home.
Academia Sinica President James Liao (廖俊智) later issued a Chinese-language letter to faculty members, reminding them to adhere to updated measures against “the Wuhan pneumonia.”
Over the past month, the institution has made several breakthroughs in research on the virus, which has raised local morale and won international acclaim, he wrote.
In the letter, he asked the faculty members to face the challenges brought by the disease with rationality, empathy and unity.
At a news conference yesterday, Department of General Affairs Director Chang Kang-wei (張剛維) did not disclose the infected person’s department or contact history, citing Central Epidemic Command Center regulations.
The person’s work did not involve direct contact with outside members or any projects on vaccine development or disease prevention, he said.
There are nearly 6,000 people, including researchers, assistants and administrative personnel, on the Nangang campus, he added.
Academia Sinica advised its faculty not to travel abroad, telling those who must to first obtain approval, Chang said, adding that the institution has made a list of people returning from overseas and foreigners visiting its campus.
The institution from yesterday closed its sports center, the Hu Shih Memorial Hall, the Tsai Yuan-pei Memorial Hall, the Lingnan Fine Arts Museum, the Museum of the Institute of History and Philology and the Museum of the Institute of Ethnology, for an indefinite period.
To reduce the number of people working close together, one-third of its personnel in the administrative building are to work in its activity center from Monday, he said.
It would also stop leasing conference rooms to groups of more than 100 people.
Although the campus remains a public space, all buildings have implemented entry control measures, including taking people’s temperatures and requiring health declarations, he said.
As some of its departments are on National Taiwan University’s (NTU) campus in Daan District (大安), shuttle buses between the two campuses are temporarily suspended, he added.
Citing frequent exchanges between the institutions, NTU President Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) during a school meeting yesterday told faculty members to temporarily avoid visiting Academia Sinica.
Additional reporting by CNA
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