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Old Posted Mar 21, 2020, 5:08 PM
pttwarrior pttwarrior is offline
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Virus Outbreak: Taipei to close centers to protect children and elderly

By Lee I-chia / Staff reporter

The Taipei City Government on Friday said that community care centers and parent-child centers in Taipei would be temporarily closed until the end of next month to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to elderly people and young children.

The city government decided to suspend operation of the centers at least until the end of next month to contain COVID-19, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said.

Whether to open them in April would be decided based on the spread of the virus at that time, she added.

An assessment showed that prevention resources at the city’s 477 community care centers and 13 parent-child centers might not be capable of handling the disease if it progresses, so it was decided to postpone the opening date from Tuesday to the end of next month, the Taipei Department of Social Welfare said.

The city’s Department of Transportation is to designate two taxis for transporting residents under home quarantine to hospitals for treatment, except for those with a fever or respiratory symptoms, Huang said.

People in need of the service must go to the health department and gain approval in advance, because they are not allowed to leave home when under quarantine, Department of Health Commissioner Huang Shier-chieg (黃世傑) said.

More than 3,000 people are under home quarantine, he added.

One person, who arrived from Hong Kong on Feb. 12, filled in a false passport number and false contact information, he said, adding that he should be under quarantine, but has gone missing.

The police are assisting the city government in finding him, he added.

Yesterday, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) reiterated his opinion that the Central Epidemic Command Center should tell the public where the nation’s 24th patient — a woman in her 60s living in northern Taiwan — resides to lessen the panic.

On Friday, when Ko first expressed this opinion, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that disclosing the woman’s whereabouts “would not do much good,” as she was hospitalized the day after her emergency room visit on Jan. 29 and her activities prior to that did not fall within the virus’ incubation period.

“Local governments certainly know about confirmed cases in their administrative area, because the center’s orders and contact investigations are conducted with the assistance of local health departments,” Chen added yesterday.

If local governments know the details, making them public would only cause more panic, he added.

Yesterday, Ko said that he does not know the details.

“Isn’t it because China keeps hiding things from the public that it is in its current situation?” Ko said. “Sometimes I think that Taiwan and China came from the ‘same sauce tank’ — these people think the same way.”

While people sometimes react irrationally, Taiwan is a relatively mature democratic society, so even if being transparent and open causes panic, not letting the public know might cause people to panic more, Ko added.
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