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May 01, 2003, No. 006

  • Date:2003-05-01

Press Release of the Offshore Control Division of the Executive Yuan's SARS Epidemic Management Committee

The Offshore Control Division of the Executive Yuan's SARS Epidemic Management Committee held its fourth meeting today (May 1) to confirm the resolutions adopted in earlier sessions. The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) particularly stressed the need for clearly defined division of authorities and responsibilities as well as responsible tasks and assigned items between all relevant government agencies. All relevant government agencies should ask subordinated units subject to them, as well as all relevant private enterprises, to strictly follow the given directives to ensure an efficient implementation of all prevention and quarantine measures taken by this special program. As supporting agency to the Offshore Control Division, the MAC will conduct random inspection visits at all airports and major seaports. The MAC will also coordinate the solving of difficulties as they arise, including the assignment of additional staff to increase manpower, or the installment of additional X-ray equipment in airports. The paramount goal is to make sure that during the implementation of the special program all related departments successfully cooperate in making tight border control against SARS.

During the implementation of SARS prevention measures in a special program, to solve the expiry issue of the travel/residence documents of all ROC nationals (including Taiwan businesspeople)traveling or residing in the Mainland area. The Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) has already successfully reached an agreement that Taiwan Compatriot Certificates for Taiwanese people in Shanghai and Shenzhen can be extended for three months, while Taiwan Compatriot Certificates for the Shenyang area can be extended for one to three years. Similar arrangements for other areas are still under negotiation. Another directive concerns the Mainland spouses who have returned to the Mainland for a visit during their 2-year residence in Taiwan and who temporarily find it inconvenient to return to Taiwan because of SARS-related quarantine regulations. If this situation leads to their remaining in the Mainland area for more than 120 days, the Offshore Control Division has decided that during the implementation of SARS prevention measures in a special program, this will not affect their residence or permanent residence permits.

In terms of the implementation of quarantine measures by business owners, employers are responsible for implementing quarantine measures whenever the quarantined person reports to his/her boss that he or she has been served a “Compulsory Quarantine Notice for SARS Epidemic Prevention.” Employers should report the quarantine location and related information to health authorities, which will then follow up the case via telephone. The MAC calls on entrepreneurs/employers to live up to their social responsibilities and cooperate with the government in a concerted effort for efficient epidemic prevention measures.

In addition, it is reported recently that a Kinmen resident who had been engaging in beachside business transactions with the Mainland residents, and subsequently came down with a high fever in what was considered to be a suspected SARS case. The person is currently under quarantine at the Kinmen County Hospital, and the DOH Center for Disease Control has been informed of the case. However, initial diagnosis suggested that this was not likely to be a case of SARS, but the authorities concerned are conducting follow-up surveillance of the case.

The MAC pointed out that all compulsory quarantine measures taken with regard to travelers entering Taiwan from areas with a concentration of SARS cases serve the sole purpose of avoiding a further domestic spread of the epidemic. To allow efficient prevention, the higher standards of the World Health Organization have been adopted. This means that many of those placed under compulsory quarantine have not been in contact with suspected or probable SARS patients. Yet for the common good, these quarantined subjects at home sacrifice their personal freedom of movement and comply with government policy and legal regulations. This way, timely action can ensure a cleaner and safer environment. Therefore, all quarantine subjects deserve our admiration and support.