Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) and New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜) yesterday pledged at an annual meeting of the cities’ leaders to provide mutual medical services and further collaboration on COVID-19 prevention, denying that their prevention strategies are inconsistent, despite media reports.
Disease prevention should be predicated on the “best preparations for worst-case scenarios,” and the New Taipei City Government has followed the All-out Defense Mobilization Readiness Act (全民防衛動員準備法) in taking precautions allowing it to act decisively if a city lockdown is ordered by the central government, Hou, a former police officer, said on Wednesday.
Ko, a physician and the chairman of the Taiwan People’s Party, said that the Taipei City Government has also taken precautionary measures, but that such measures should not get “too far” ahead of the present coronavirus situation.
Their remarks triggered speculation that the two cities might be diverging on disease-prevention policy.
At yesterday’s meeting, the two mayors constantly applauded each other, vowing to work together to stop the virus’ spread.
The cities are considering a trial of mask dispenser machines and would not let each other’s borders stop them from providing medical treatment, Ko said, adding that the two plan to set up shared locations for isolating COVID-19 patients.
Photo: Yu Chao-fu, Taipei Times
“The two cities are a body of life and there is no problem with inconsistency,” Hou said, adding that he is working closely with Ko on prevention strategies.
A hotline has been set up so that the mayors can handle any emergency, Hou said.
Taipei City Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said that each city notifies the other about any coronavirus-related information so that officials stay informed.
Asked about his party’s suggestion that Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) take over from Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) as head of the Central Epidemic Command Center, Ko said the move was not necessary.
Su and Chen should communicate and arrive at a consensus regarding policies, Ko added.
Local media and commentators often compare Chen and Ko, both medical professionals.
While Chen is gaining popularity for his professionalism and pragmatism as the center’s head, Ko has drawn criticism for frequent slips of the tongue. The two have butted heads over the best way to evacuate Taiwanese citizens after the lockdown in Wuhan, China, is lifted.
Ko said that the government should focus on the work at hand and not waste time on a meaningless war of words.
Hou said that New Taipei City would follow the central government’s guidance on disease prevention, adding that the two city leaders are shoulder-to-shoulder on that issue.
Separately, Huang said that the Taipei City Government is considering a special scheme that would hire volunteers to help with home quarantines.
“Local borough wardens and district offices are swamped,” Huang said, adding that she would discuss the project with the Taipei Civil Affairs Bureau while waiting for guidance from the central government.
DISTRUST WARRANTED? The WHO is under China’s control and has become a useless organization, while data from China cannot be trusted, a Control Yuan member said China’s demand that the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, not be referred to with names like the “Wuhan pneumonia” betrays its lack of confidence in itself, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told lawmakers yesterday. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) asked Su, during a interpellation at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, for his view on China’s attempts to redeem its national image in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These included China’s efforts to “bleach” its image, including having WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus publicly praise its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, and thanking it for buying time
TOO TIRED: Investigators found that the pilot’s lack of alertness could be attributed to a lack of sleep the previous night, when he had slept with his child It was a copilot’s inappropriate operation of the aircraft and the pilot’s insufficient alertness that led to a hard landing of a China Airlines cargo flight on Dec. 13, 2018, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. Flight CI6844, a Boeing 747-409 which departed from Hong Kong International Airport, landed on the pre-threshold area of runway L5 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, about 21m before the head of the runway, an investigation report said. The hard landing damaged three runway lights, but none of the personnel on board sustained any injuries, the report said. When approaching the runway, the copilot failed to maintain
REPEAT OFFENDER: The man went outside for exercise on Wednesday and then left his home on Saturday with his girlfriend, officials said A New Taipei City man has been fined NT$400,000 (US$13,221) and ordered into government quarantine after breaking home quarantine for a second time on Saturday. The 25-year-old man, surnamed Chen (陳) returned to Taiwan on Sunday last week and was ordered to home quarantine until Sunday. He was seen leaving his home on a scooter with his girlfriend on Saturday, three days after he was fined NT$200,000 for going outside to exercise, police said. Chen has now been placed in a quarantine center arranged by the district office and health center of the district where he lives, police said. Police warned the public
Taipei residents who stay at hotels in the city during their 14-day mandatory quarantine period are eligible to apply for the city’s NT$7,000 subsidy, with online applications to be launched next week. Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) on Monday said Taipei residents who have COVID-19 Health Declaration and Home Quarantine Notice dated after March 19 and a quarantine hotel receipt for the dates covered by the quarantine period, would be eligible for the subsidy. The Taipei City Government on Sunday told the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) that so many city residents are under home quarantine that about 90 percent of