The Center for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported a fourth suspected SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) patient in Chiayi.
According to the CDC, the fourth case, a male, was traveling in Guangdong Province between March 4 and March 6 and returned to Taiwan via Hong Kong.
The man began to display SARS symptoms on March 13 and was admitted to hospital on March 17.
The local health department in Chiayi reported the case to the CDC yesterday afternoon, said CDC Director-General Chen Tsai-ching (陳再晉).
"So far we have received eight reports of SARS cases. But after checks the CDC has found four of these were not SARS," Chen said.
According to Tsai, the first two cases are now in National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) and the third case is in Ilan Hospital.
"Two of the cases have stabilized and have obvious improvements. One of them has not have any fever over the past three days," Chen said.
He added that specimens taken from the patients have been sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USCDC) for further testing.
Premier Yu Shyi-kun yesterday pledged to study the possibility and necessity of offering direct charter flight services to China-based Taiwanese businesspeople to help them return home without having to pass through Hong Kong and Macao, where SARS cases have been reported as well.
"I'm calling on airline travelers not to worry much about the three possible cases of SARS, because the ventilation system of most passenger planes can efficiently change 50 percent of the air every three minutes," Yu said during a question-and-answer session in the legislature.
Yu made the remark in response to a question filed by PFP Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), who asked about the Cabinet's plans for direct cross-strait flights.
Yu also said that the government does not care what name Taiwan uses to enter the WHO as long as it successfully gains accession to the organization.
"It doesn't matter whether we join the WHO as the Republic of China or Taiwan. What really matters is we're included in the world's health system," Yu said.
The premier made the remark in response to a question from TSU legislative leader Chien Lin Whei-jun (錢林慧君), who asked Yu for his view on the WHO's repeated rejection of Taipei's bid to join the organization.
Department of Health Director-General Twu Shiing-jer (涂醒哲) added that the problem lies not with Taiwan but with China, which has made continuous efforts to exclude Taiwan from the international community..
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