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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2020, 10:47 AM
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on Taiwan

Source: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3893350

48-year-old Taipei hotel forced out of business by coronavirus

Stylish Leofoo Hotel to close permanently in May as epidemic hammers Taiwan’s hospitality industry


By Ching-Tse Cheng, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2020/03/09 11:53



TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to haunt Taiwan's tourism industry, the long-established Leofoo Hotel (六福客棧) in Taipei's Zhongshan District has become the latest victim of the outbreak and announced its permanent closure in May.

Following the Taiwan Travel Quality Assurance Association's (TQAA) prediction last week that more than 90 percent of Taiwanese travel agencies would shut down if the virus persists till December, Leofoo Hotel said Monday (March 9) that it will end operations on May 31. The 48-year-old hotel, known for its traditional Chinese style decor and convenient location, said that the land will be used for the construction of a commercial building instead.

The hotel's parent company, Leofoo Tourism Group, said it had been planning to refurbish the building and continue operations until at least 2021 but that the slow business caused by the virus has forced it to call it quits. The group expressed gratitude to its customers and emphasized that it will provide compensation to the staff, reported CNA.

Leofoo Tourism Group explained that customers who have purchased vouchers for accommodations or the buffet can ask for a full refund at the front desk. It added that after May, any unused vouchers will be treated as cash at affiliated businesses, including Courtyard by Marriott Taipei and the Leofoo Village Theme Park, reported Now News.
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2020, 5:44 AM
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Source: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/biz/.../07/2003732204

Mar 07, 2020

Landis shuts struggling Taichung hotel

A SHIFTING LANDSCAPE: The hotel, which has had only one profitable year since it opened, would close on Monday, as it faces increasing competition and high rent

By Crystal Hsu / Staff reporter

Landis Hospitality Group (麗緻餐旅集團) yesterday approved plans to close Landis Taichung Hotel (台中亞都麗緻飯店) next week, as the COVID-19 outbreak sharpens losses in an increasingly crowded market.

“As the virus outbreak is to persist for a while, the board decided it is better to shut down the Taichung property to rein in losses,” Landis Hospitality director of finance and accounting Kay Ku (古亦敏) told a news briefing at the Taipei Exchange Market.

The 13-year-old property is the first five-star hotel to exit the Taiwanese market as tourist arrivals fall and local travelers forgo gatherings over fear of the flu-like disease.

The outlet has accumulated NT$350 million (US$11.7 million) in losses as of the third quarter of last year, with slim chances of generating profit against growing competition and operation costs, the hotel and restaurant operator said.

The group — which also runs the Landis Taipei Hotel (台北亞都麗緻飯店) and has franchise relationships with four other hotels in New Taipei City, Hsinchu and Tainan — also said that high rent expenses contributed to the closure, which is to take effect on Monday.

Landis Hospitality said that it would seek arbitration if the landlord, Cathay Life Insurance Co (國泰人壽), claims damage beyond the premature cancelation fees stipulated in the lease. The group reportedly sought rent concessions, but to no avail.

High rent forced Westin Taipei (台北威斯汀六福皇宮) out of the market in 2018.

Despite its convenient location in central Taichung, Landis Taichung struggled in an increasingly crowded market that has been joined by the Place Taichung (台中大毅老爺行旅) and Millennium Hotels and Resorts (台中日月千禧酒店), as well as other international hotel brands that are expected to open in the area.

Landis Hospitality would help more than 200 employees find jobs at other hotels and provide full refunds for hotel and restaurant vouchers, group chairwoman Michelle Hsu (徐儷萍) said.

With a focus on business travelers, the hotel failed to turn a profit since its 2007 opening, with the exception of 2010.

Hsu said that she had tried to defend the Taichung property, which has come under criticism from the board over the years for its poor earnings.

The affiliated Pause Landis (璞石麗緻溫泉會館) in New Taipei City’s mountainous Wulai District (烏來) has halted operations from Feb. 14 to Sunday next week, as the hot-spring resort has also been hard hit by the outbreak.

Hsu did not comment on reports that Cathay Life’s affiliated hotels would seek to fill the vacancy.

The group reported NT$54.01 million in net losses for the first three quarters of last year, with the hotel wing accounting for 80.74 percent, Landis Hospitality data showed.
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  #3  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2020, 5:01 PM
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Source: https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3900343

New Taipei City to shut down sports centers, libraries amid coronavirus fears

Prominent museums will also close for 14 days starting March 20


By Matthew Strong, Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2020/03/19 14:11

Sports centers, museums, and libraries in New Taipei City will shut down for 14 days beginning Friday (March 20) to prevent the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), according to Mayor Hou You-yi (侯友宜).

On Thursday (March 19), Taiwan’s total number of virus patients reached 108, including 78 imported cases and one death.

Hou made the statement at what would have been the opening of an activities center in the city’s Xinzhuang District, apologizing to staff for the unexpected cancellation of the event and for not allowing them to work, CNA reported. The new measure applies to all enclosed spaces normally open to the public and managed by the New Taipei City Government, reports said.

The list included some of the city’s most prominent museums, such as the Yingge Ceramics Museum, the Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology in Bali District and the Wulai Atayal Museum, as well as local activity centers.

In addition, the campuses of elementary and secondary schools in New Taipei City will be closed to outsiders from Thursday (March 19) until the end of the school year. Groups sometimes rent campuses' athletic fields to hold public events, such as flea markets or concerts, but that will not be possible under the new measures.
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  #4  
Old Posted Mar 21, 2020, 5:08 PM
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Source: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiw.../23/2003731483

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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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 23, 2020, 10:00 AM
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Source: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/tai.../20/2003733048

Virus Outbreak: Senior-high school first to close due to virus

By Sherry Hsiao / Staff reporter

Mar 20, 2020


A senior-high school in northern Taiwan is to become the first school in the nation to suspend all classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic after two students were confirmed to have contracted the disease, Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said yesterday.

Classes are to be suspended from today through Friday next week, Pan said at the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) daily media briefing in Taipei.

Students would not return to the school until March 30, the center said.

The school’s second case of the coronavirus — and the nation’s 103rd — was reported yesterday.

He is a classmate of the nation’s 59th case, who returned to Taiwan on March 5 after visiting Greece with his family from January, the center said.

The two students’ classes were suspended after the first case was confirmed, the Ministry of Education said.

The school, the local education department and the ministry began to “prepare for the worst” after the initial class suspension, Pan said, adding that preparations included ensuring that distance learning could be carried out.

The ministry also sent the school 10 thermometers and 10,000 masks after the first case was reported, he said.

Classes at the school are to be moved online following its closure, he added.

The school has 1,650 students, and 154 faculty and staff, the ministry said.

During the closure, administrative staff at the school would still be required to go to work, with the exception of those who needed to be quarantined due to contact with a confirmed case, Pan said.

Guidelines released by the ministry last month say that a class would be suspended for 14 days if one student or teacher in the class contracts the virus.

If two or more students or teachers at a school contract the virus, all classes at the school would be suspended for 14 days, they say.

The center said that it was counting the school’s quarantine period as having started on Friday last week, as that was the last day that both students had contact with other students and teachers at the school.
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  #6  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2020, 2:31 PM
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Source: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/tai.../23/2003733214

Virus Outbreak: Fewer travelers at Taoyuan airport than during SARS

Staff writer, with CNA

Mar 23, 2020

The number of passengers passing through Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Saturday fell below the daily average during the height of the SARS epidemic in 2003, the National Immigration Agency said yesterday.

Only about 7,800 people traveled through the nation’s main international gateway, about 1,700 passengers fewer than the 9,500 who used the airport a day earlier.

That daily traffic was well below the 9,300 passengers handled on average by the airport in May 2003 at the height of the SARS epidemic, when economic activity in Taiwan and in the region ground to a halt, NIA statistics showed.


Passengers at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday wear protective suits, masks and goggles.
Photo: CNA


Passenger numbers at Taoyuan airport have been falling since Taiwan and governments worldwide began imposing travel restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Saturday’s passenger traffic at Taoyuan airport was far below the average daily traffic of 133,300 passengers in January — which was nearly identical to last year’s average of 133,400 passengers — and an estimated 70,000 passengers per day last month.

Because of declining demand, airlines have been cutting capacity, and yesterday, about three-quarters of scheduled arrivals and departures at Taoyuan airport were canceled, leaving only about 160 flights operating, the airport’s Web site said.
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"Flying Over Kaohsiung" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHgbfzNqduc
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